A Denial of Rights as a factor of Violence Against Elderly In Brazil. Denial of Rights as a factor of Violence Against Elderly In Brazil

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1 Denial of Rights as a factor of Violence Against Elderly In Brazil Tania Maria Bigossi do Prado* Alacir Ramos Silva** ABSTRACT Violence against the elderly is neither an isolated nor a contemporary phenomenon; it has been going on universally for many centuries and with several factors associated to it, although only as of the eighties has it become the object of studies and interventions. Violence is to be considered as a violent act (single or repeated) or an omission that harms the physical and emotional integrity of the elderly, preventing them from performing their social role. Violence comes as a breach of positive expectations on the part of the elderly in relation to people and institutions that surround them (children, spouse, relatives, caregivers and society in general and the State) and materializes in many forms: physical, sexual, psychological and financial violence, neglect, abandonment and self-neglect. Besides those, there is the so called structural violence, which affects mainly the elderly in a vulnerable situation, since it gathers aspects of social inequality. This violence is characterized by a hampering in the search for rights as it weakens the informal support networks - family and community members - who might act as facilitators so that rights could be guaranteed. And the formal safety net lacks articulation, integration, agility and professional qualification programs, what could result in increased efficiency, expressed above all in a better resolution of cases. Such violence is explicit in the deterioration of public policies, in financial abuses by the frustration over the expectation of rights, omission in guaranteeing rights, the delay in granting benefits, among others, and the greatest violator in these cases is the State. Facing of violence should occur in two ways: denunciation and prevention, and in the case of the latter, structural prevention, the acknowledgement of the elderly as social protagonists through formal spaces of participation (Councils, Conferences), the Ministry and the Public Defender offices, have an important role in the effectuation of rights.

2 1 - DENIAL OF RIGHTS AS A FACTOR OF VIOLENCE AGAINST ELDERLY IN BRASIL Population-ageing - the growth process in the percentage of the elderly population in relation to other age groups - is a worldwide phenomenon. However, it presents itself in different ways throughout the central and peripheral countries. In the block of core countries, this process has taken place slowly and gradually over more than 100 years, followed by socio-economic progress and by the improvement of the population`s living conditions. In developing countries, including Brazil, this transition was a vertiginous one and some aggravating factors have made this transition even more complex, placing the elderly in a situation of vulnerability. The determinants in the growth of the ageing population were the decline in birth rates and the increase in life expectancy in Brazil (BERZINS, 2003; Veras, 2003; Papaleo NETO, 1986). The 2010 Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) census showed that the Brazilian population is 190 million people and among these more than 20 million people are aged sixty or older. The projection for the year 2020 is 27.2 million. These data place Brazil among the ten countries with the greatest elderly population in the world. It has been estimated that by 2025, Brazil will have reached the sixth place, with a significant number of 31.8 million elderly (IBGE, 2010). In this sense, there has been an expansion in the rights sphere of the elderly. However this guarantee at a formal level has not always been effected given the minimization of the neoliberal State and its disclaim in relation to its intervention in the social field before society. The impasse is set since there is a gap between the formal guarantee of rights and the effectuation of these. The denial of these rights takes the form of violence against the elderly.

3 2 -VIOLENCE AGAINST ELDERLY IN BRAZIL The Action Plan to Confront Violence Against the Elderly (2005, p.11) makes use of the concept established by the International Network for the Prevention of Maltreatment of the Elderly, which defines violence against this age group as: The maltreatment of the elderly is an act (single or repeated) or an omission which causes harm or distress and which is produced in any relationship where there is expectation of trust. Minayo (1999) shows that the forms of violence against the elderly manifest themselves in different ways: structural violence, understood as the one which occurs due to social inequality and is naturalized in manifestations of poverty, misery and discrimination; interpersonal violence, which refers to everyday interactions and relationships; and institutional violence which is related to application or omission both, in the management of social policies and by assistance institutions. International literature has established some categories and typologies to designate the various forms of violence committed against the ageing population: physical abuse / physical maltreatment or physical violence, psychological abuse / psychological violence or psychological maltreatment, sexual abuse / sexual violence, financial abuse; abandonment and neglect, which is a form of violence that manifests itself by the absence or by the desertion of government or institutional responsible officials, or of responsible family members in providing assistance to an elderly person who needs protection. Besides those, there is the so-called structural violence, which includes aspects of social inequality and therefore affects mainly the elderly in a vulnerable situation. This violence is characterized by a hampering in the search of rights insofar as it weakens the informal support networks - family and community members - who might act as facilitators for the guarantee of rights. And the formal safety net lacks articulation, integration, agility and qualification programs for professionals, what could result in increased efficiency, expressed above all in better resolution of cases. Such violence is made explicit in the deterioration of public policies, in financial abuses by the frustration of rights expectation, omission in guaranteeing rights, delay in granting benefits among others, and the greatest violator in these cases is the State.

4 In Brazil there is a set of laws targeting the promotion and the quality of life of vulnerable subjects. However, individual and / or collective struggles are necessary in order to breach critical situations of maltreatment or the violence, whose victims are the elderly in Brazil. Facing of violence should occur in two ways: denunciation and prevention, and in the case of structural violence the acknowledgement of the elderly as social protagonists through formal spaces of participation (Councils, Conferences), the Ministry and the Public Defender offices has an important role in the effectuation of rights. REFERENCES BERZINS, M.A.V.S. Envelhecimento populacional: Uma conquista a ser celebrada. In.: Revista Serviço Social e Sociedade, ano XXIV, N. 75, Especial, São Paulo: Cortez Editora, BRASIL(1990), Portaria Interministerial n. 252, de 16 de outubro de Diário Oficial República Federativa do Brasil, Brasília, BRASIL (1993), Lei n o.8742/93. Dispõe sobre a Organização da Assistência Social e dá outras providências. Brasília-DF, BRASIL(1996a), Decreto nº 1948/96. Regulamenta e Lei nº 8842/94, que dispõe sobre a Política Nacional do Idoso, e dá outras providências. Brasília-DF, BRASIL(1994), Lei n o.8842/94. Dispõe sobre a Política Nacional do Idoso, cria o Conselho Nacional do Idoso e dá outras providências. Brasilia: Ministério da Justiça, Secretaria Nacional dos Direitos Humanos, BRASIL(1999), Portaria Ministerial 1395/99. Dispõe sobre a Política Nacional da saúde do idoso. Brasília-DF, BRASIL(2003), Lei /03. Dispõe sobre o Estatuto dos Idosos. Brasília-DF, 2003.

5 BRASIL(1998), Constituição (1988). Constituição da República Federativa do Brasil. Brasília-DF: Senado Federal, BRASIL(1997), MINISTÉRIO DA PREVIDÊNCIA E ASSISTÊNCIA SOCIAL/Secretária de Assistência Social. Plano Integrado de Ação Governamental para o desenvolvimento da Política Nacional do Idoso. Brasília-DF, BRASIL, Presidência da Presidência da República. Subsecretaria de Direitos Humanos. Plano de Ação para o Enfrentamento da Violência Contra a Pessoa Idosa. Brasília, Available at: < >Access on June 30, MINAYO, M. C. de S. Estudos sobre violência e saúde. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Científica da Revista Ciência & Saúde Coletiva: Claves/Fiocruz, *Tania Maria Bigossi do Prado Coordinator of the Especialization Course in Social Gerontology at Escola Superior de Ciências da Santa Casa de Misericórdia de Vitória (EMESCAM) Espirito Santo Brazil ** Alacir Ramos Silva Coordinator and Professor of the Master in Public Policies and Local Development at Escola Superior de Ciências da Santa Casa de Misericórdia de Vitória (EMESCAM) Espirito Santo Brazil Maria Cristina Komatz Domitrovic Revision of the text in English

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