On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday urged people to “protest abuse of senior citizens”.

Banerjee in a tweet said, “On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day let us pledge to protest abuse of senior citizens and provide all help and protection to the victims”.

According to United Nations, the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is observed each year on June 15. It was officially recognised by the UN General Assembly in its resolution 66/127, December 2011, following a request by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA), who first established the commemoration in June 2006.

On the day, the world voices its opposition to the abuse and suffering inflicted to some elderly people.

What is elder abuse?

According to UN, elder abuse can be defined as “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person”.

Elder abuse can take various forms such as physical, psychological or emotional, sexual and financial abuse. It can also be the result of intentional or unintentional neglect.

Elder abuse is a problem that exists in both developing and developed countries yet is typically underreported globally.

In many parts of the world, elder abuse occurs with little recognition or response. Until recently, this serious social problem was hidden from the public view and considered mostly a private matter. Even today, elder abuse continues to be a taboo, mostly underestimated and ignored by societies across the world, says United Nations.

From a health and social perspectives, unless both primary health care and social service sectors are well equipped to identify and deal with the problem, elder abuse will continue to be under-diagnosed and overlooked.