Elderly abuse prevalent in Namibia
Last week Friday was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) with the main purpose of raising awareness of elderly abuse through out the world. According to the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC), one in ten people who apply for protection orders in Namibia are over the age of fifty. This data illustrates the fact that domestic violence affects people of all ages, and crimes commited to elderly people in the country is prevalent considering the media reports of parents killed or beaten up by their own children.
In its forthcoming report, which will be released in a few months, titled Seeking Safety, the LAC stated that violence between a parent and child or grandparent and grandchild is the second largest cause of complaints falling in the domestic violence category. Only violence between husbands and wives or between couples living in a close domestic relationship, ranks higher.
Remarkably, within the child parent group there are more cases of violence by children or grandchildren against their parents or grandparents, than the other way around. Elderly people are particularly exposed to attacks from younger people.
The study also showed that elderly people who applied for protection orders requested provisions such as no communication, custody of grandchildren, limitations of access by the abuser to grandchildren and temporary maintenance.
The Combating of Domestic Violence Act states that if a person is over the age of 21 but for some reason is unable to make an application for a protection order in person, this can be done on behalf of the victim by a third party provided written consent has been given.
The LAC says this might be useful for elderly people who finds it difficult to travel to the court to make applications. The person who helps can be anyone with an interest in the well-being of the person being abused, such as a friend, family member, pastor or social worker.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was celebrated last week at Onkugo Ye Pongo Community Centre in Katutura.