I feel defenceless
“I am 83 years old and rely on assistance in everyday life. I live with my 85-year-old husband in our house. He has taken care of everything for years; he nurses me, goes shopping and does the housework. However, he can no longer manage it alone and yet doesn’t want to accept any help. He often insults me and threatens to put me in a home. When attending to my personal hygiene, he sometimes grabs me so roughly that I get bruises. And sometimes he even refuses to help me with personal hygiene. As far as I’m concerned, it can’t go on like this.”
Respecting physical and mental integrity
Violence can be directed against any age group, including senior citizens. It can take many different forms, ranging from humiliating, insulting, threatening or intimidating someone, through to roughly grabbing, pushing or hitting them. Neglecting the personal hygiene of a person in need of care or withholding their medication is also a form of violence. This affects more people than you might think.
Regardless of whether such abuse or neglect is a result of a person being overloaded or of an intent to harm, it is illegal. It is a violation of your physical and mental integrity, and is punishable by law. You can defend yourself against it.
Are you affected by violence?
If you are affected by violence, it is important that you seek help, even if this is difficult. It often takes courage to turn to someone you trust, to an advisory office or to the police. But please do so.
What can I do as a victim or bystander?
- In an emergency, call the police: Dial 117.
- Contact one of the victim support counselling centres. They will assist you with personal and legal issues. The support is free and confidential.
- Turn to the Zurich Cantonal Police Domestic Violence (Protection from Violence) Unit / Fachstelle Häusliche Gewalt (Gewaltschutz) der Kantonspolizei Zürich: This unit will carry out a risk assessment and initiate appropriate measures for your protection.
- Get information from the Zurich Cantonal Police Senior Citizen Protection Unit / Fachstelle Seniorenschutz der Kantonspolizei Zürich: This unit meets the special needs of senior citizens who are victims of crime. It also works closely with partner organisations.
- Turn to the Independent Complaints Office for the Elderly (UBA), where professionals provide assistance for older people affected by any form of violence. They help people to help themselves in conflicts that occur in a wide range of contexts.