e WHO-CIG joint programme re-
sponds to the recommendations of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA) (UN, 2002), the princi- pal outcome of the World Assembly on Ageing, which took place in Madrid, April 2002. e MIPAA is based on the United Nations Principles for Older Persons adopted in 1991 by the United Nations General Assembly under the slogan “To add life to the years that have been added to life”, which encapsulates the needed effort towards a just society for all ages.
e MIPAA has several implications that
address the issue of elder abuse. It calls for changes in attitudes, policies and practices at all levels and in all sectors in order to ensure that people everywhere are able to age with security and dignity, as citizens with full rights. Furthermore, the MIPAA recognizes the universality of the problem of elder abuse. Although the MIPAA points out that the process of ageing brings with it a declining ability to heal and that the impact of trauma may be worsened because shame and fear may result in reluctance to seek help, it also emphasizes that el- der abuse is often not solely of a physical form. In this respect, the MIPAA sets out as objectives the elimination of all forms of neglect, abuse and violence directed at older people and the creation of supporting services that address elder abuse.
e MIPAA delineates three priority
directions: older people and development; advancing health and well-being into old age; and ensuring enabling and supportive environments. Each of these directions has major implications in the needed global
effort to fight elder abuse. More specifically, the MIPAA strongly recommended more emphasis on the prevention and manage- ment of elder abuse through the adoption of multisectorial, interdisciplinary com- munity-based approaches to eliminate all forms of neglect, abuse and violence. Furthermore, the MIPAA states that there is an urgent need worldwide to expand educational opportunities in the field of geriatrics and gerontology for all health professionals who work with older people and to expand educational programmes on older people’s health for professionals in the social services sector. Informal caregivers also need access to information and basic training on the care of older people. is goes together with the encouragement of health and social services professionals to report suspected elder abuse as well as with the demand on health and social services professionals to inform older people sus- pected of suffering abuse about the protec- tion and support that can be offered.
WHO has recognized the need to establish a global strategy for the prevention of the mistreatment of older people. e WHO Ageing and Life Course Programme (ALC) has been working in the field of elder abuse since early 2000. In 2002 the results of a multicentric study conducted by ALC in collaboration with the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA), HelpAge International (HAI) and partners from academic institutions in a range of countries as well as nongovern- mental organizations (NGOs) representing grass-roots organizations over the previous