Manual on elder abuse provides guidance to professionals ‘Oud leed (Older people’s pain)’: preventing and combatting elder abuse


Each year one in every twenty old people is subjected to abuse. In the book ‘Oud Leed’ Theo Royers and Maria van Bavel describe the backgrounds and causes, but especially how elder abuse can be dealt with and prevented. On Monday, the 23rd of April 2012, Oud Leed will be presented to the Director-General of long-term care of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, during a meeting on the action plan Old people in safe hands.

Elder abuse causes severe wounds, both literally and figuratively, in the personal lives of victims, offenders and their environment. The violence takes place behind closed doors and is often committed by people very close to the victim: partners, children, neighbours, acquaintances or care workers. Old people themselves do not speak out. They are being pressurized to change their will, their bank accounts are plundered, they are being pinched and beaten, they are not given enough  food and drink, they are not allowed to have contacts outside the home, they are threatened and insulted and sometimes also abused sexually.

Never before has the issue of elder abuse been described so extensively. The first part provides intrinsic information on the phenomenon of elder abuse. The second part describes the infrastructure of the preventing and combatting of elder abuse in the Netherlands. The third part discusses the tools available to social workers and police to tackle elder abuse. Care givers, social workers, police, volunteers, physicians, notaries, vocational training students of colleges for social work  and everyone who encounters elder abuse will find in Oud Leed the knowledge and instruments to prevent, detect and deal with elder abuse in order to solve the problem.

Action plan ‘Older people in safe hands’
Between 2012  and 2014 combatting elder abuse is given an extra incentive by state secretary Veldhuijzen van Zanten of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. Annually, ten million euros are being made available structurally to detect and stop violence towards the elderly in an earlier stage, amongst other things by an improved reporting system and adequate support for the victims. For example, there is also going to be an information campaign for older people themselves and their environment, and for professionals reporting will be mandatory.

Theo Royers is employed by Vilans, centre of expertise for long-term care and is currently focusing on the campaign STOP elder abuse. Maria van Bavel is employed by Movisie, the Netherlands centre on social development and is involved in the initiation and execution of many projects concerning elder abuse. Oud Leed was written commissioned by Movisie, with the financial support of the ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.
ISBN 978 90 8850 217 1/ 200 pp, € 24,90 /

Editor’s note
For more information: apply to Jandirk Veenstra,, telephone 030 789 2206, or 06 107 208 40. &

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