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Elder abuse a priority


Elder abuse a priority

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GOVERNMENT IS TREATING abuse of the elderly as a priority and as it will be focussed on in the National Policy on Ageing.

Charyn Wilson, the director of the National Assistance Board (NAB), said the Ministry of Social Care had established a committee in this regard.

“Legislation has to be put in place to address the issue of the abuse of the elderly. The National Policy on Ageing has a section addressing that issue and what needs to happen so the ministry has established a committee to implement the plan of action for the national policy and that’s something we are going to be taking a look at as a priority,” she said.

Wilson, speaking after an awards ceremony today at the Vauxhall senior citizens village in Christ Church, said the committee would be having its first meeting next month and will be separating the urgent recommendations and making plans to address them, which will include the issue of elderly abuse.

In the meantime, Wilson encouraged the public to call the NAB if they suspected there were any cases of elderly abuse. She said they took anonymous calls and would respond with a social worker.

The award ceremony was in commemoration of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and gave out certificates to individuals and organisations which were making continuing contributions to the Vauxhall home.

Featured speaker, Minister of Social Care Steve Blackett praised the spirit of volunteerism still present in Barbados, saying it played a pivotal role in the economic life of any country.

“Ten years ago, a group of volunteers partnered with the NAB and the Ministry of Health to launch the first Caribbean observance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Following on from these early initiatives, Barbadians have been able to heighten their knowledge of what constituted elder abuse, its causation and various categories.

“This development has redounded to the benefit of Barbados as more individuals have been sensitised to the detrimental effects of elder abuse. This group of volunteers working in tandem with the NAB recognised the importance of engaging in collaborative efforts to reduce or eradicate occurrences of elder abuse.

“They were cognisant of the need to undertake such an action and further pursued the idea of having the inclusion and participation of more and active volunteers,” he said. (CA)