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

Related Articles

Related Articles

HLPF 2021: COVID-19 Pandemic: A Stress Test of Global Ageing

TUESDAY, 6 JULY 2021 19:00 PM - 20:30 PM CEST VIRTUAL The session can be watched live on un web tv Older Persons have been among the first and hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. In many respects the pandemic could be viewed as a test...

read more

HLPF 2021: Ensuring that no one is left behind

TUESDAY, 6 JULY 2021 18:00 PM - 19:00 PM CEST HYBRID  The session can be watched live on un web tv When Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, they pledged that no one would be left behind, and that they would...

read more

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – Access to justice

Recording Virtual Event, Tuesday 15 June 2021 at 09:00-10:15 EST (NY), 15:00-16:15 CEST (Geneva) The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) founded the first World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) in 2006. WEAAD was designated as a United...

read more