??Deputy Chairman of the NAB, Rev. David Durant, addressing the rally.

Joining the worldwide fight to eradicate the scourge of elder abuse three years ago, the National Assistance Board (NAB) continues working to bring about a change in persons’ behaviour and attitude to elderly people.

Deputy Chairman of the NAB, Rev. David Durant, who delivered the feature address at the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Rally at Heroes’ Square today, said that the Board, along with various partners, had begun to create a database of persons who experienced abuse and was in the process of fine-tuning a series of forms, guidelines and protocols for use.??

Rev. Durant also revealed that a special unit to manage elder abuse cases was being structured into the operational framework. "These initiatives are necessary, since there is currently an absence of a comprehensive statistical evidential base of the incidence and or rate of abuse at a national level, or even any numerical indication of the various forms of elder abuse.?? This is in part due to lack of awareness and understanding of elder abuse, as well, no doubt, to uncertainty about one’s choices," he remarked.

The Deputy Chairman noted that the Board was collaborating with the National Committee on Aging in finalising the submission of the National Policy on Aging for White Paper status and further action. "Elder abuse concerns are contained in the proposed national policy, but will also be the subject of specific legislative focus," he added.

Stating that the Ministry of Social Care and the NAB recognised that legislation was important in the fight against this type of abuse, Rev. Durant stressed that "it must not be seen as a stand-alone strategy" and fully supported "this timely and appropriate public awareness rally".

He said: "The location of this rally today is most suitable because our elderly folk represent the unsung heroes and heroines who have established the foundation on which modern society has been built.?? The task is ours to fight with and for them in their quest to add quality to their … years due to improved health and socio-economic conditions at a national level."

In addition, Rev. Durant stated that the Board would "continue making presentations, co-coordinating discussions and debates with various groups in an effort to raise the level of public sensitivity to the subject".

He called on all Barbadians to sign the petition in solidarity against elder abuse as well as support future efforts at exposing it wherever it occurs.?? "Elder abuse is not only a social issue, but has severe implications for the health profile of individuals and countries, and this suggests that each individual has a role to play in stamping it out," Rev. Durant stressed.

Elder abuse may be defined "as a single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person".

The types of abuse seen here in Barbados range from physical, sexual and psychological abuse to financial abuse, neglect and abandonment.


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