Saint Kitts
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Minister Phillip Enlists Public’s Assistance to Wipe Out Elder Abuse

Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Since the launch of the new Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Ageing and Disabilities in February 2023, several alleged cases of elder abuse have been recorded prompting government officials to seek the public’s assistance to arrest this problem, which often goes unreported.

Elder Abuse is an act within any relationship that causes harm or distress to seniors. It includes neglect, verbal/emotional abuse, physical or sexual abuse, and financial exploitation.

Minister of State responsible for Ageing and Disabilities, the Honourable Isalean Phillip, highlighted issues related to elder abuse during a national address on Thursday, June 15, 2023. June 15 is recognized annually as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD).

“Clearly, there is an urgent need for increased awareness and more vigilance around elder abuse,” Honourable Phillip stated. “As a community, we must learn the signs and symptoms and how they differ from the normal ageing process. We must listen to our older citizens and ensure that any elder who is subjected to abuse is able to seek legal recourse and protection, with perpetrators being held accountable for their actions.”

While encouraging residents and citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis to be vigilant in identifying symptoms of abuse towards seniors and to report instances of such, the minister of state said that the government would strengthen legislation to discourage and reduce abuse of older persons,”.

“The Ministry will therefore commit to developing specific legislation that protects older persons. We will also continue to raise awareness and work in collaboration with the Ministry of Health on regulations and standards of care for older persons,” said Minister Phillip. “We will seek to increase awareness among the general public on the importance of wills, estate planning, power of attorney and other legal filings that should be arranged as safeguards against financial exploitation and abuse.”

Honourable Phillip added that the elders have toiled in the past to build the nation, and everyone should work together to ensure that the senior population is adequately cared for and remain as active and independent for as long as possible.