22 reports of elder abuse made every week
Every week, more than 20 reports of violence against older people are registered in Flanders. “The actual number of cases may be significantly higher, but people are often afraid to raise the alarm,” said a spokesperson for VLOCO, the region’s support centre for elder abuse. “Because they are dependent on the perpetrator, they tend to simply endure the situation.”
Last year, 1,122 cases of elder abuse were registered, an average of almost 22 each week. The figure is in line with that of 2020 and higher than 2021. The data was published on Thursday, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, by VLOCO, the CAW general welfare centres and the 1712 helpline.
"Elder abuse is a complex issue. Talking about it is important"
Calls to VLOCO show that psychological abuse was the most common complaint, followed by physical abuse, neglect and violation of rights such as privacy and autonomy. In two-thirds of cases, the abuse was committed by someone very close to the victim, such as a partner or child.
According to the organisations, this is frequently the result of carers feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope, or suffering with their own emotional, financial or health problems.
“Elder abuse is a complex issue,” said Hilde Crevits, Flemish minister of Welfare, Public Health and Family. “Talking about it is important, with the older people themselves, with those around them, and with professional help and care providers.”
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