17 June 2014 - United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Rashida Manjoo, warned that persisting and new challenges still obstruct efforts to promote and protect women’s rights and gender equality, and called for the adoption of different norms and measures to fight violence against women around the world.
In her statement, Ms Manjoo stressed the fact that current austerity measures have had a disproportionate impact on women - not only in the availability and quality of services for women and girls victims of violence, but more generally, in areas such as poverty reduction measures, employment opportunities and benefit schemes.
Her report highlights other continuing challenges to address violence against women, including the persisting public/private dichotomy in responses to violence against women; the shift in focus to a men and boys agenda; the failure of States’ to act with due diligence; and the lack of transformative remedies to address the root causes of violence against women.
Elderly women – easier targets
Older women are at particular risk due to widespread discriminatory attitudes and practices, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on 15 June.
The global population of people aged 60 years and older is expected to more than double by 2025. A UN working group on ageing has been established by the General Assembly aimed at strengthening protection of human rights of older persons, but experts on elderly abuse have stressed the need for define what constitutes abuse of older women.
But there is no clear picture of the actual scope of the neglect, violence and abuse of older women, its complexity and diversity, UN DESA has said, and the World Health Organization (WHO) says that abuse is under-reported by as much as 80 percent.
Elderly women are the world’s fastest growing demographic group, “easy targets” and often victims of crimes as property grabbing, financial abuse – and sexual violence.
The time is fast approaching when a more focused institutional response will be necessary certainly for women, who are already the least able globally to cope with the hardships of old age and most in need of societal support.
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