Ombudswoman Brinek holds speech at ACUNS-Symposium on the topic “Violence against elderly women”
On 24 November 2017 and on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Ombudswoman Dr. Brinek took part in the symposium on “Violence against elderly women”, hosted by ACUNS (Academic Council of the United Nations System) at the Vienna International City.
A wide range of topics were addressed in the podium discussion about violence against elderly women in more traditional cultural contexts, as well as on a familial and at an institutional level of police and medicine. Ombudswoman Brinek focused on two central issues which are often overlooked when speaking of women’s rights issues: old-age poverty of women and legal guardianship. She underlined the fact that old-age poverty of women is a problem deeply rooted in society, which is only reinforced through the following of traditional gender roles since women have no real choice of whether to stay with their children or to continue working. Either way, they are in danger of being affected by old-age poverty later on.
When speaking of legal guardianship, Ombudswoman Brinek referred to the alarming number of complaints brought to the Austrian Ombudsman Board on this issue every year. Through her dedication to raising awareness to this topic and provoking a change in legislation, she has worked closely together with relevant organizations and a working group of the Federal Ministry of Justice. The new Adults Protection Law which will enter into force in July 2018 aims to bring about more empowerment and support for affected persons, instead of encouraging incapacitation. Hence, a decrease in complaints concerning legal guardianship is hoped for.
According to Ombudswoman Brinek, “Even with these small successes, our work of improving the situation for women in this world is never done. Violence against elderly women remains a wide-spread phenomenon which must be addressed to raise a wider awareness of this issue.”