Elder Abuse and the Human Rights Approach—Insights and Experiences from Finland

  • Sirkka PerttuEmail author
  • Henriikka Laurola
  • Päivi Helakallio-Ranta


The population structure of the EU countries is growing progressively older. In Finland, the proportion of the population of 65 years and older is projected to be 22.6% in 2020 and 26.3% in 2040. Populations ageing pose severe challenges for traditional social welfare states and for many service providers in the social welfare, healthcare and legal sectors. Elder abuse is predicted to increase as many countries are experiencing rapidly ageing populations. In Europe, some countries have a rich history of prevalence research on elder abuse, and other countries have just begun to tackle the issue of elder abuse and neglect. Studies on the prevalence of elder abuse are only a few in Finland and have all been conducted in the 1990s. This article will describe the current situation of elder abuse in Finland in the light of recently conducted studies. It is noted that violation of personal rights is an area often either completely disregarded in elder abuse research or hidden in definitions of forms of abuse. This article makes fresh connections between the human rights approach and the current elder abuse discourse in Finland, exploring elder abuse in a larger societal and international context.


Elder abuse Human rights Violence against older women Finland 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sirkka Perttu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Henriikka Laurola
    • 1
  • Päivi Helakallio-Ranta
    • 2
  1. 1.VoiVa—Empowering Old Age CoopVantaaFinland
  2. 2.Suvanto—For a Safe Old AgeHelsinkiFinland

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