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Human Rights and Older People

Professor champions the rights of older people

With growing concern over the prevalence of elder abuse in the UK (it is estimated that 4% – or 342,000 people – aged over 66 experience abuse), Professor John Williams has highlighted the difficulties experienced in obtaining basic human rights including justice and protection.

Based at Aberystwyth University, Professor Williams’s work seeks to address this through law reform that is more age sensitive and provides equal protection for people of all ages, and his work has already influenced the Care and Wellbeing (Wales) Bill which now includes powers for practitioners responding to cases of suspected abuse.

Protection of Older People in Wales: A guide to the law co-authored by Williams provides advice for practitioners on the existing legal framework to protect older people.  As a member of the Welsh Government’s Safeguarding Advisory Panel, he is directly responsible for drafting the policy framework for the statutory regulations and code of guidance around safeguarding and protection.

This body of research work on older people is also having an international impact, and as a Member of the Expert Group on Human Rights of Older Persons, Professor Williams has called for a UN convention on the rights of older people.

“During conversations with those who work in the field of adult protection, it became clear that many people see the current law on adult protection as a confusing maze. This guide seeks to reduce that confusion; its purpose is to help make practitioners more aware of the law available to them in their day to day work.” Ruth Marks, former Older People’s Commissioner of Wales

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