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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Violence against the elderly is an important health problem throughout the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In Brazil, media outlets reported on Thursday, World Elderly Abuse Aware Day, many cases of abandonment and hardships faced by the elderly in the country.

Brazil, Brasilia,Elderly abuse reports have increased in Brazil due to greater awareness
Elderly abuse reports have increased in Brazil due to greater awareness, photo by Tony Winston/Agencia Brasilia.

In Rio de Janeiro, for example, the number of reported abuse cases during the first five months of 2017 increased by one hundred percent in relation to the same period last year. According to Rio’s Prosecutors Office (MPRJ) from January to May of this year, 1,406 reports of violence against the elderly were reported.

For the coordinator of the state’s center for the Protection of the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities, Luiz Cláudio Carvalho de Almeida, the awareness of society, has increased the reports of abuse considerably, contributing to a greater visibility to such cases.

According to Almeida most of the victims are female, that the majority of the perpetrators of the abuse come from family members. The most recurrent types of violence are family abandonment, financial abuse, neglect, physical and psychological violence.

In the city of Anapolis, tucked in the middle of Brazil’s farm and cattle country, officials receive several calls per week about possible abuse.

“What we realize is that instant crimes, such as attempted homicide and bodily injury, cause infinitely less suffering than abandonment,” Police Chief in Anapolis, Goias, Manoel Vanderic, told a local Goias newspaper after visiting an elderly woman who had been abandoned without food or medicine by her only son.

Adding, “This crime [abandonment] is much more serious and much more reprehensible, both from the point of view of the law, and from the Christian, human point of view.”

A recent WHO study conducted in 28 countries from diverse regions, over the past year, showed that 15.7 percent of people aged sixty years and older were subjected to some form of abuse.

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