C.23 - Eliminate violence that affects older people

C.23 - Eliminate violence that affects older people
Establish or consolidate human rights programmes to tackle and eliminate violence against older persons in the public and private spheres.
Priority measure number


The objectives, goals and indicators must take into account the particular situation of indigenous older persons, pursuant to priority measure 89 (which refers to protection against all forms of violence, in the chapter on indigenous peoples).

Possible lines of action

1. Establish or strengthen mechanisms to prevent violence, in any of its manifestations, within the family, in long-term care services, in the workplace, and in the media. 2. Provide training and raise the awareness of public officials, medical personnel, family caregivers or other persons who provide services to older persons, to enable them to detect violence or abuse in all spheres, to advise on the measures to take if abuse is suspected and, in particular, to encourage the reporting of abuse to the competent authorities. 3. Promote suitable and accessible measures for reporting cases of violence against older persons, and strengthen the judicial and administrative mechanisms for addressing them, including adequate compensation to victims, within a reasonable timeframe. 4. Produce statistical information on the scope, the causes and the effects of violence against older persons, disaggregated by age, sex, place of residence, disability or other basis of discrimination. 5. Create support services, such as shelters, counselling and rehabilitation, for older persons who have been victims of violence in the home (including those living in rural and isolated areas). 6. Establish criminal penalties, civil recourse and compensation to protect older persons against all types of violence, including sexual violence and harassment in the workplace. 7. Investigate, prosecute and punish all acts of violence against older persons, including sexual violence. 8. Take adequate awareness-raising and other measures to protect older persons against financial abuse, including fraud or deceit. 9. Pass legislation prohibiting the subjection of older persons to scientific experiments, medical treatment or institutionalization without their free and informed consent.

Related instruments, forums and mechanisms

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, in its general recommendation 27, declares that “States parties have an obligation to recognize and prohibit violence against older women, including those with disabilities, in legislation on domestic violence, sexual violence and violence in institutional settings. States parties should investigate, prosecute and punish all acts of violence against older women, including those committed as a result of traditional practices and beliefs. States parties should pay special attention to the violence suffered by older women in times of armed conflict, the impact of armed conflicts on their lives, and the contribution that older women can make to the peaceful settlement of conflicts as well as to reconstruction processes. When addressing sexual violence, forced displacement and the conditions of refugees during armed conflict, States parties should give due consideration to the situation of older women. States parties should take into account relevant United Nations resolutions on women and peace and security when addressing such matters, including, in particular, Security Council resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008) and 1889 (2009).” (United Nations, “General recommendation Nº 27 on older women and protection of their human rights”.

 The Committee against Torture, in general comment No. 2, establishes that States parties must, among other obligations, prohibit, prevent and redress torture and ill-treatment in all contexts of custody or control, including institutions that provide care for the elderly. The Committee has also issued repeated recommendations to States parties that, in their reporting, they should present data disaggregated by age, gender and other key factors so that the Committee can adequately evaluate implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

The measure is also related to Sustainable Development Goals and their targets, particularly target 5.2 (“Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation”), and target 16.1 (“Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere”).

Article 9 (“Right to safety and a life free of violence of any kind”) of the Inter-American Convention on protecting the human rights of older persons prohibits discrimination based on the age of older persons, establishing that “Older persons have the right to safety and a life without violence of any kind, to be treated with dignity, and to be respected and appreciated regardless of their race, color, sex, language, culture, religion, political or other opinions, social origin, nationality, ethnicity, indigenous and cultural identity, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, economic contribution, or any other condition.” Article 10 (“Right not to be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment”) establishes that “Older persons have the right not to be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.” In all cases, the obligations of States are identified in regard to the protection of rights.

C. Ageing and social protection