The Catholic University of America

CUA Law Professor Lucia Silecchia published a June 15, 2017 op-ed on UN World Elder Abuse Awareness Day entitled "Who are the victims of elder abuse? The disabled, cognitively impaired and poor," in the Washington Post. She also published a second op-ed on the same topic entitled "Elderly at special risk in a 'throwaway culture'" in Crux Now.  See Below 
 


Who are the victims of elder abuse? The disabled, cognitively impaired and poor

From: The Washington Post 
By: Lucia Silecchia
Date: June, 15, 2017

In recent years, the United Nations has increased the number of “international days” it observes. Many of these observances have gained global momentum and support, such International Women’s Day (March 8) and World AIDS Day (Dec. 1), which serve both educational and advocacy goals.

On June 15, the United Nations observes the less publicized World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, focusing attention on the hidden tragedy of abuse, neglect and exploitation of elderly people throughout the world. While this year’s theme focuses specifically on financial abuse, the sad reality is that the elderly face a broad array of exploitation that includes physical, medical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse. The perpetrators include caregivers, strangers and, most tragically, family and friends. A recent study has shown that perpetrators are more likely to be the spouses and adult children of victims rather than strangers. This means the specific abuse is compounded by the violation of profound trust.

According to the Justice Department, 10 percent of seniors are abused each year, with only 1 out of every 23 cases reported. The most likely victims are women, people with cognitive impairments, people without relatives, those with disabilities and those who are ill-housed, poor, physically weak or socially isolated.

Click here to read the full article. 
 

Elderly at special risk in a “throwaway culture”

From: Crux
By: Lucia Silecchia
Date: June, 15, 2017

As the United Nations marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, it is easy to point to blatant financial abuse, fraud, physical attack, and medical neglect inflicted on the elderly and say – with certainty and clarity – that these are evil and illegal acts. However, Pope Francis reminds us that we as a society “throw away the elderly, behind which are attitudes of hidden euthanasia. They aren’t needed and what isn’t needed gets thrown away."

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day has been designated by the United Nations as an occasion to focus international attention on abuse of the elderly - abuse that, in its many forms, is estimated to affect 10 percent of the rapidly-growing population over the age of 65.
Observed every year on June 15, this day prompts discussion of the ways in which our legal and political structures and the human rights framework can better respond to the often hidden ways in which the elderly suffer at the hands of those who, all too frequently, can be their own family and friends.

As valuable as this discussion may be, however, elder abuse is a symptom of something far beyond what the law can address on its own.

It raises a profound moral question that strikes at the heart of how, and whether, we honor our fathers and mothers - and whether a utilitarian view of human life has led us to devalue the elderly in ways that lead to neglect, abuse, and even death.

Click here to read the full article. 


 

 

Lucia Silecchia  

Professor Lucia Ann Silecchia's
Areas of Expertise

Environmental Law and Ethics

Catholic Social Thought and the Law

Elder Law and Estate Planning

Legal Writing

For additional information about our professors' areas of speciality, see the Catholic University Experts page.