As society ages, issues relating to older persons are surfacing and gaining public attention. Abuse of the elderly is among those issues causing great concern in Hong Kong. Although Hong Kong is a Chinese community where older persons are supposedly greatly respected, a fair number of cases of abuse of the elderly have been recorded. Like any member of any society, elderly people have the right to be free from mistreatment in their own families or in institutions. Enacting protective legislation is one of the ways used to deal with or prevent abuse of the elderly. Countries like Singapore and China have used different legal approaches. Singapore has adopted an adversary process where disputes between parents and children have to be resolved in courts using evidence. China has adopted a gradual approach where disputes are initially managed using public sanctions (e.g. neighbours can openly condemn those children who do not respect their parents, street-level commune officials can publicly display the names of people who do not support their parents), and ultimately dealt with by the law courts. Legislation aiming to protect elderly people is being proposed in Hong Kong (e.g. to extend the coverage of the Domestic Violence Ordinance to people aged 60 and over). This paper analyses the pros and cons of applying the adversary process when dealing with abuse of the elderly and China’s experience with similar abuse. The purposes and contents of Hong Kong’s legislative response to abuse of the elderly are discussed.
|Number of pages
|Asian Journal of Gerontology and Geriatrics
|Published - 1 Dec 2007