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Katana was accused of witchcraft by his villlage.

1 in 6 older people experience abuse every month. Age International helps to fight elder abuse around the world.

  • Elder abuse is any act that causes harm or risk of harm to an older person. This abuse can be physical, psychological, sexual, material, or of general neglect
  • Less than 1/3 of governments worldwide have implemented any sort of strategy to detect, raise awareness or tackle elder abuse
  • No international human rights standards focus specifically on freedom from violence, abuse and neglect in older age

Types of elder abuse

Jumwa was accused of witchcraft

Pictured: Jumwa was forced to leave her home when her son accused her of witchcraft. 


After her husband died, Deyu was accused of being a witch - just because she was an older woman - and attacked by men with machetes in Tanzania.


66 year old Balwant was locked up in a dark, tiny room by her own brother. Forced to live in solitary confinement for 6 years, she was barred from talking to anyone.


After her husband went missing due to the conflict in Colombia, 60 year-old Cecilia suffered from sexual violence when a group of men broke into her house.


'My in-laws started to discriminate against me after the death of my husband. They took my husband's land and urged me to leave my village', a 62 year-old older woman from Nepal told us.


In Serbia, an older woman living alone said 'There's no one to even see me, no one to bring me a glass of water when I need it. I am old and alone now, no one needs me'.

Fighting elder abuse: what we do

Agnes reads her memory book.

Pictured: Agnes was chosen to become a human rights trainer in her community.

To protect the rights of older people globally, we:

To help older people suffering from elder abuse, we support:

  • Will-writing and classes on land rights, to protect older women from land-grabbing
  • Volunteers to identify signs of violent abuse and to give survivors the support
  • Help older people to access age-friendly loans, to combat financial exclusion

Why women are particularly vulnerable to elder abuse

Fatema receives a relief package.

Pictured: Fatema's son-in-law stole her food after a natural disaster.

Older women are particularly vulnerable to elder abuse because of the gender discrimination they have suffered throughout their lives, with many opportunities denied to them, merely because they are women.

One particularly deceptive form of elder abuse is financial abuse, particularly against older widows. Older widows are frequently victims of land-grabbing and property-stealing by family members due to their lower-status in communities.

Fighting elder abuse: what you can do

Thi Man smiles widely

Why we need a UN convention

Governments must ensure a person’s rights are protected at all stages of their life.

Find out why

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