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Second Shadow Pandemic

Reports of the merciless abuse and eventual murder of little Arthur Labinjo-Hughes have drawn attention to the extra dangers that have fallen to vulnerable children during these months of life with Covid-19 and lockdowns: How much did lockdown help Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’ killers escape notice? | Child protection | The Guardian

These are indeed terrible times and have exposed both the best and worst of human behaviour when vulnerable people are in intense and unrelieved contact with carers – family carers or professionals.

There have been a number of publications and reports drawing attention to increased evidence of violence toward women of all ages – The United Nations coining the term ‘The Second Shadow Pandemic’ Measuring the shadow pandemic: Violence against women during COVID-19 | UN Women Data Hub

But the risks are very great for older people – women, but also men – and most especially when they are frail, cognitively impaired, socially isolated and dependent on others.

Abuse is not always physical, but may be psychological, sexual, economic or neglect. WHO estimates that one in six of people aged 60 experience some form of abuse. The situation has worsened during the Covid-19 Pandemic

The second shadow pandemic: elder abuse (

Elder abuse (

The issues were addressed in a report to The House of Lords earlier this year: Domestic abuse of older people - House of Lords Library (

And new legislation is designed to make the world of care a safer place.

Domestic Abuse Act Domestic Abuse Act 2021 (

Somehow these developments and observations on the dangers for older people have not attracted the headlines they deserve. There is, as WHO has said, need to increase awareness of the phenomenon, how to reduce its incidence, how to recognise a risk and to counter it. And need to our shared humanity – Amen to this

Hourglass (

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