The Human Rights Ombudsman has recently received several different complaints related to allegations of violence in retirement homes. Unfortunately, there are also anonymous complaints among them, which may also indicate a fear of the possible consequences of reports. “Based on these complaints, we have already contacted those retirement homes that are mentioned in the anonymous initiatives. We have requested explanations from them, and we have also contacted other competent institutions, with whom we will meet shortly regarding this issue, as we want to work together in the direction of preventing any violence against the elderly,” explains Svetina.
Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina has emphasised since the beginning of his mandate that as a society we must always and everywhere have zero tolerance for violence. “Violence against the elderly is of particular concern, as it is relatively invisible and, unfortunately, often happens behind the four walls of the family environment or in institutional care. At the same time, this is one of the most vulnerable groups of our society. Inside the closed walls, violations of the rights of the elderly occur more easily and go unnoticed. The victims are helpless and often dependent on the perpetrators of the violence, so they cannot or do not dare to report the violence. We must always pay attention to the occurrence of violence and take action if we detect it. It is also necessary to invest in the training and education of all those professional groups that come into contact with the elderly and work with them,” emphasises Ombudsman Svetina.
He added that he is horrified and worried about the appearance of videos on social networks, in which especially young people commit violence against the weaker ones and even brag about such inadmissible and repulsive behaviour. “This shows the extreme erosion of values in society. We need to raise awareness among young people that violence is criminal and that such videos deserve disgust, not likes,” stresses the Ombudsman.
The institution of the Human Rights Ombudsman also warns that more preventive programmes for recognising violence should be implemented at the national level, because the problem is that victims of violence often do not even recognise it and do not perceive that they are living in violent relationships. All state institutions should therefore come together and prepare a campaign for the prevention of violence, which would also have a preventive effect on the perpetrators of violent acts, and would help victims to recognise and report violence. According to the Istanbul Convention, the state must also establish training programmes on non-violent behaviour in interpersonal relationships, which would prevent further violence and change violent behaviour patterns of individuals.