The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) underscored the need to protect the country’s elderly citizens against abuses as it joined in the celebration of the “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day” on Tuesday, June 15.
“This occasion reminds us to give due attention to the hidden and under-reported issue of elder abuse and impels all of us to recognize its varying forms including physical, psychological, emotional, financial abuse…,” CHR Commissioner Karen S. Gomez-Dumpit, Focal Commissioner on Ageing and the Human Rights of Older Persons, said in a statement.
Theme for this year’s celebration is “Access to Justice,” which addresses the “invisibility” of older persons in the justice system, Dumpit said.
Oftentimes, the elderly citizens lack awareness of their legal rights and have fears in reporting abuses, and as a result, they deal with abuse, neglect, and exploitation in silence, she emphasized.
For the elderly who managed to seek out justice, Dumpit said they are faced with a whole new set of issues.
“There are also persisting barriers such as accessibility, affordability, reasonable accommodation, excessive delays and backlogs in judicial processes, impact of digitalization, cultural norms, gender bias, discrimination, and entrenched ageism in policy, norms, and practices that further render justice to be elusive to older persons,” she stressed.
At the same time, Dumpit said the bills in Congress that proposed measures to protect older persons form all forms of abuse, neglect, and exploitation remain pending.
She said: “We appeal to our lawmakers to ensure that these bills are deliberated and passed as soon as possible. The absence of an elder abuse law can be regarded as the greatest barrier in ensuring access to justice and effective remedies for human rights violations against older persons in the country.”