The impact of COVID-19 on Violence, Abuse and Neglect of Older Persons - World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Webinar on Tuesday 16 June 2020 at 14:00 Geneva/ 8:00 am New York

The UN General Assembly designated 15 June as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (res. A/ RES/66/127). Elder abuse is one of the most hidden and underreported human rights violations.

COVID-19 has put a spotlight on older persons including distressing reports of instances of abuse and neglect of older persons in long term care institutions. Not only older persons are at a high risk of serious illness and mortality, but they are also stigmatized through abusive language in both the conventional and social media.

Despite the lack of reliable data on the actual scale of elder abuse in the community where the majority of older persons live, emerging reports reveal the high impact of the COVID-19 pandemic both in the rise of cases of abuse and in the disruption of the services and protective measures.

The UN Secretary-General in his Policy Brief The Impact of Covid-19 on Older Persons warned that measures to restrict movement may trigger greater incidence of violence against older persons and all types of abuse – physical, emotional, financial and sexual as well as neglect.

The lack of adequate legislation at national level to protect the rights of older persons and the absence of a dedicated internationally agreed legal framework, contribute to the vulnerability of older persons and may have contributed to the inadequate responses to the COVID-19 crisis and that these gaps must be filled.


  • Ms Claudia Mahler, Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons 
  • Etienne Krug, Director of the department of Social Determinants of Health, World Health Organization
  • Jillenne Gunther, AARP BankSafe
  • Kikelomo (Kiki) Laniyonu Edwards, Dementia Care Society of Nigeria
  • Michael S. Mulvey, University of Ottawa

Opening remarks: 

  • A Permanent Representative Member of the Group of Friends of Older Persons, UN, New York (TBC)
  • Ambassador Robert Muller, Deputy Permanent Representative of Austria to the UN, Geneva, Member of the Group of Friends of the Human Rights of Older Persons, Geneva


  • Amal Abou Rafeh, Chief,  Programme on  Ageing, UNDESA, NY
  • Monica Ferro, Director Geneva office, UNFPA

See also :

A recording of the webinar is available on our YouTube channel

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