Malawi Network of Older Persons' Organisations

"Promoting the rights of older persons"

Violence and abuse

Abuse and Discrimination

The abuse of older persons remains a taboo in Malawi. It often happens inconspicuously and in many cases goes unnoticed. However, evidence shows that it occurs frequently and in all types of settings in our communities. No community can claim to be immune from any of such forms of abuse/discrimination.

Elder abuse takes many different forms. Many older persons suffer discrimination in the public sphere, linguistic discrimination, isolation, neglect and financial exploitation. Others face psychological violence, the withholding of basic needs, physical violence or sexual abuse, and the worst of all is the killing of older men and women on various witchcraft related accusations, which often are without basis and evidence.

We cannot assume the victims will report what they face. Despite facing abuse such as being physically restrained, left in soiled clothes, over-medicated or emotionally neglected, they may not speak up for fear of reprisals - or to protect family members from criminal prosecution assuming the matter is reported to police. .