Archive for November, 2009

Murphy Commission Report on Child Sexual Abuse in Dublin

2009-11-30:  The Dublin Archdiocese (Murphy) Commission of Investigation was established to report on the handling by Church and State Authorities of a representative sample of allegations and suspicions of child sexual abuse against clerics operating under the aegis of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin during the period 1975 to 2004.

The Commission, which continues its investigations, is chaired by Judge Yvonne Murphy.  There are two other members of the Commission: Ms. Ita Mangan and Mr. Hugh O’Neill.

The Dublin Report (the first of many ?) … was submitted to Mr. Dermot Ahern T.D., Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform on 21st July 2009.

Dublin Report Paragraph #1.113 (Page 28) – Conclusion

‘ The Commission has no doubt that clerical child sexual abuse was covered up by the Archdiocese of Dublin and other Church Authorities over much of the period covered by the Commission’s remit.  The structures and rules of the Catholic Church facilitated that cover-up.  The State Authorities facilitated the cover up by not fulfilling their responsibilities to ensure that the law was applied equally to all and allowing the Church Institutions to be beyond the reach of the normal law enforcement processes.  The welfare of children, which should have been the first priority, was not even a factor to be considered in the early stages.  Instead the focus was on the avoidance of scandal and the preservation of the good name, status and assets of the Institution and of what the Institution regarded as its most important members – the priests.  In the mid 1990s, a light began to be shone on the scandal and the cover up.  Gradually, the story has unfolded.  It is the responsibility of the State to ensure that no similar Institutional immunity is ever allowed to occur again.  This can be ensured only if all Institutions are open to scrutiny and not accorded an exempted status by any organs of the State.’

The Department of Justice, Equality & Law Reform has been very sloppy in the manner that it has presented the Dublin Report on the Department’s WebSite.  For your convenience, therefore, the Full Original Report is presented here as a single PDF File …

Date of Original Report: 21 July 2009.  PDF File, 3.98 Mb.

Murphy Commission Report on Child Sexual Abuse in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin

Click the Link Above to read and/or download the Full Original Report

December 2010

Murphy Commission Report: Tony Walsh – ‘Fr Jovito’ – Portions

Click the Link Above to read and/or download PDF File (155 kb)

July 2013

Murphy Commission Report: ‘Patrick McCabe’ Redacted Material (Chapter 20 – Pages 1-10 Only)

Click the Link Above to read and/or download PDF File (2.2 MB)

Important Note:  The Full Chapter 20 PDF File, with the ‘Patrick McCabe’ Redacted Material … recently re-issued on 12 July 2013 … has 99 Pages and weighs in at a whopping 19.31 MB !   It can be downloaded from the Department of Justice & Equality WebSite … http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/PB13000293

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Those Individuals … whether members of Church or State Authorities … who have been named and shamed in the Dublin Report … or who will be named and shamed in connection with the Dublin Report … must resign, and be brought to justice.

If our ‘State’ is serious about the Protection of Children … Ireland must NOW fully and effectively implement the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child … which entered into force, i.e. became an International Legal Instrument, on 2nd September 1990.  LATER is no longer acceptable !

This is a fundamental foundation for a Comprehensive National Framework of Child Protection Related Legislation, Standards and Guidance Documents, with the necessary accompanying Administrative Provisions and Monitoring Measures.

1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

 Click the Link Above to read and/or download the UN Convention (PDF File, 112kb)

Of much interest … the VIENNA DECLARATION AND PROGRAMME OF ACTION, adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights on 25th June 1993, stated …

‘ The World Conference on Human Rights, welcoming the early ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by a large number of States … urges universal ratification of the Convention by 1995 and its effective implementation by States Parties through the adoption of all the necessary legislative, administrative and other measures and the allocation to the maximum extent of the available resources … ‘

Ireland signed the Convention on 30th September 1990 … and ratified the Convention on 28th September 1992.

As of today’s update, 16th July 2011, Ireland has still not properly implemented the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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Update 2011-07-16 … one more recently published report !!

Commission of Investigation – December 2010

Report into the Catholic Diocese of Cloyne

Click the Link Above to read and/or download PDF File (2.37 Mb)

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POSTSCRIPT

2011-10-09:  The Irish Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Ms. Frances Fitzgerald T.D., launched the Amnesty Ireland Report: ‘In Plain Sight’ in the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), 15 Ely Place, Dublin … on the morning of 26 September 2011.  The research for this report was undertaken by Dr. Carole Holohan, and the report was commissioned by Amnesty International Ireland.

Key Findings of Amnesty’s ‘In Plain Sight’ Report (2011)

This report has five key findings …

     1.  No clear lines of responsibility make true accountability impossible.

This report demonstrates how the absence of clear lines of public and private responsibility in the provision of services, along with the absence of effective accountability mechanisms, allowed the abuse of children to continue unchecked.  In the case of residential institutions, it wasn’t that the system didn’t work but rather that there was no system.  While both the perpetrators of crimes against children, and the institutional Church within which they operated, hold responsibility for this abuse, State authorities also failed in their duty to monitor residential institutions effectively, to act appropriately when abuses by agents of the Catholic Church in communities came to light, and to take action to prevent the continuation of abuse.

     2.  The law must protect and apply to all members of society equally.

The Reports on child abuse highlight how the law did not serve or apply to all members of Irish society equally.  The most obvious example of this is how children who were placed in residential institutions were branded as criminals as a result of the court committal process, while the majority of perpetrators of abuse have not been held to account by that same criminal justice system.  Despite the severity of the crimes revealed in the Ferns, Ryan, Murphy (Dublin) and Cloyne Reports, which range from physical assault to rape, very few perpetrators have been convicted.  Furthermore, no criminal charge has been laid against those in positions of authority in the Catholic Church who concealed crimes against children and allowed known sex abusers to continue to have access to children and to continue to abuse with near impunity.  The Reports raise serious questions about the rule of law, given the evidence of deferential treatment shown to priests and bishops by members of the Gardaí.

     3.  Recognition of children’s human rights must be strengthened.

This report includes a human rights analysis of the abuses detailed in the Ferns, Ryan, Murphy (Dublin) and Cloyne Reports.  The sexual abuse in the diocesan reports, and the sexual, physical and emotional abuse, the living conditions, and the neglect described in the Ryan Report, can be categorised as torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under human rights law.  The Reports also demonstrate that children’s rights to private and family life, the right to a fair trial and the right to be free from slavery and forced labour were contravened, as was their right to education and to physical and mental health.  The invisibility of children in law, policy and public debate is directly related to the fact that children do not have express constitutional rights.  It is essential that the rights of the child be made explicit in the Irish Constitution and that the paramount importance of the rights of the child be explicitly enshrined in law.

Children do not represent a homogenous social category and children from different subsections of society have very different experiences.  The majority of children in industrial schools were placed there as a direct result of the poverty of their families.  We must not ‘other’ any groups of children.  Particularly vulnerable groups of children today include children in care, Traveller children, children in the criminal justice system, children with mental health problems, children experiencing homelessness, children living in poverty, and asylum-seeking children.

     4.  Public attitudes matter – Individual attitudes matter.

The Reports identify the impact of deference to the Catholic Church on how people responded to abuse and suspicions of abuse.  Fear, an unwillingness and an inability to question agents of the Church, and disbelief of the testimony of victims until recent times indicate that wider societal attitudes had a significant role to play in allowing abuse to continue.  The end of deference to powerful institutions and the taking of personal responsibility on behalf of all members of society will initiate some of the changes that are necessary to prevent the occurrence of human rights abuses.

Wider societal attitudes to children who experienced residential institutions were often negative and hostile.  The prejudice and discrimination they experienced led many to emigrate, leading to the further disintegration of families who had already been divided when the children were placed in institutions.  We must be aware of the impact of prejudice and negative attitudes towards marginalised groups in our society.  Negative attitudes towards children in the criminal justice system, people with disabilities, asylum seekers and people with mental health problems makes life more difficult for members of our society who may already be vulnerable.

     5.  The State must operate on behalf of the people, not on behalf of interest groups.

The Reports demonstrate how the State had a deferential relationship with the Catholic Church.  The complaints of parents, children and lay workers about problems and abuses in residential institutions were dismissed by Department of Education officials, while the reputation of religious orders was defended by Ministers and T.D.’s in the Dáil.  While Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s recent criticism of the Vatican suggests a less deferential attitude to the Catholic Church, transparency in the operations of all arms of the State is necessary to prevent interest groups from exerting undue influence.  In all spheres, political actions must have at their core the best interests of the wider population and not sectional interests.

26 September 2011 – Amnesty International Ireland

In Plain Sight: Responding to the Ferns, Ryan, Murphy and Cloyne Reports

Click the Link Above to read and/or download PDF File (2.57 Mb)

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Older People in Emergencies – Action & Policy Development (II)

2009-11-25:  In 2008, the World Health Organization (WHO) Report: ‘Older People in Emergencies – Considerations for Action & Policy Development’ was published.

The following are short extracts from that Report …

Older People

Until recently, older peoples’ needs in disasters and conflicts were addressed only by broader adult health and humanitarian programmes.  This has changed, as several recent emergencies highlighted this population’s vulnerabilities.  Of the 14,800 deaths in France during the 2003 heat wave, 70% were people over 75 years of age.  Of the estimated 1,330 people who died in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, most were older people.  In Louisiana, 71% of those who died were older than 60 years;  47% of this group were over 77 years old.  Worldwide, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has estimated that older people make up 8.5% of the overall refugee population, and in some cases comprise more than 30% of caseloads.  In 2005, approximately 2.7 million people over the age of 60 were living as refugees or internally displaced persons.

Globally, the proportion of older people is growing faster than any other age group.  In 2000 one in ten, or about 600 million, people were 60 years of age or older.  By 2025, this figure is expected to reach 1.2 billion people, and in 2050 around 1.9 billion.  In developing countries, where 80% of older people live, the proportion of those over 60 years old in 2025 will increase from 7% to 12%.  Moreover, life expectancy at birth has increased globally from 48 years in 1955 to 65 in 1995, and is projected to reach 73 in 2025.  By 2050, people over 80 years old are expected to account for 4% of the world’s population, up from 1% today.

Disability & Older People

Worldwide, it is estimated that more than 80% of the disabled population lives in developing countries, where the prevalence of disability is approximately 20%.  That rate is expected to increase dramatically as populations age.  By 2050 in India, the incidence of disability is expected to jump by 120%, in China by 70% and in sub-Saharan Africa by 257%.

Emergency Planners must consider these trends, because poor health and reduced mobility increase the risk of serious injury and illness in disasters.  Older people have sustained more injuries in disasters than other groups because of functional limitations such as poor balance, muscle weakness and exhaustion.  Older people have higher rates of coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, respiratory diseases and rheumatism.  A study in China found that 74% of those over 80 years old had chronic diseases, 1.5% were physically disabled, and 3.46% had Alzheimer’s disease.  In Iraq, more than half of 340 older people surveyed by HelpAge International had chronic joint and bone problems, hypertension, heart problems, diabetes and reduced eyesight and hearing.  In West Darfur, Sudan, 34% of surveyed refugees 50 years of age and over were disabled, 27% could not move without help and 19% had severely impaired vision; while 61% reported chronic diseases that required specialized treatment and/or medicines that were not available.

Objective 1:   Increase Visibility and Raise Awareness among Health Agencies and Humanitarian Organizations about Older Peoples’ Needs and Priorities in Emergencies.

  • Mainstream and integrate issues related to older people and emergencies into existing policies and guidelines (i.e. emergency medicine, nutrition, protection, gender-based violence, participatory assessments and programming).  Include plans for older people in national policy and guideline documents.
  • Highlight the need to assist and protect older people as well as their capacities and contributions in rebuilding affected communities.
  • Develop inter-agency efforts to identify gaps, develop practice guidelines and provide training and education.
  • Promote better practice policies and documents among all stakeholders.
  • Collaborate with funders to increase humanitarian assistance to older people based on needs assessments and reflect these in funding proposal criteria.
  • Involve older people in developing emergency management activities to increase their visibility and ensure their needs are taken into account, for example, in shelter plans and locations.

Objective 2:   Develop Essential Medical and Health Resources for Older People in Emergency Practices.

  • Identify and include essential medicines for older people in emergency kits.  Include medicines for chronic diseases and other illnesses common among this social group.
  • Develop disability aid packages with equipment such as eyeglasses and walking sticks.
  • Develop education modules for health professionals on diseases common among older people, including HIV/AIDS.
  • Develop and disseminate guidelines for geriatric medicine in emergencies and humanitarian crises.
  • Within the health care system, ensure that conditions and needs common to older people are integrated into patient triage, clinical evaluation, treatment, the emergency medical response system and access to specialty care.
  • Ensure that nutritional guidelines for food distribution suitable for older people are integrated into health planning and response plans.
  • Ensure local development of guidelines for feeding older people, using locally available foods to the extent this is possible where populations depend on external food aid.
  • Implement gender-based analyses in planning and programme design to account for differences between older men and women in terms of both health needs and access issues.

Objective 3:   Develop Emergency Management Policies and Tools to Address Older Peoples’ Health-Related Vulnerabilities.

  • Integrate older peoples’ health needs and related issues into assessment tools and practices.
  • Develop community-based tools using disaggregated data to identify vulnerable older people.  Include formats to identify chronic health conditions, disabilities and nutritional needs.
  • Develop procedures to identify hidden and stay-behind older people.
  • Develop standardized tools to assess support needs of older people, including inter-generational and community care options.
  • Develop age-friendly standards and guidelines so that service and care environments are accessible to older people with disabilities.
  • In collaboration with older people, their families and communities, develop personal and household preparedness kits in areas of predictable disasters.
  • Collaborate with communities in identifying and implementing community-based home care and support strategies which may reduce older peoples’ isolation and vulnerability during crises.
  • Develop guidelines and evacuation plans that include mechanisms to identify and transport frail, disabled and older people with special medical conditions.  Identify procedures to ensure adequate care and treatment as necessary.
  • Develop guidelines to ensure safe and adequate treatment of older people in evacuation centres and refugee camps.
  • Ensure that health facilities have feasible plans to care for older people during disasters and humanitarian crises.
  • Develop monitoring and evaluation tools to measure the performance of health care services and humanitarian interventions targeting older people.  These measures should be integrated into existing monitoring and evaluation procedures where possible.

Objective 4:   Ensure that Older People are Aware of and Have Access to Essential Emergency Health Care Services.

  • Use established assessment tools to identify and locate frail and disabled older people and those with chronic diseases and special medical conditions, as well as older caretakers of orphaned children.
  • Ensure that assessments are participatory and target all older populations.  Assessments should include information on health conditions, social support needs, caretaking responsibilities and available means to meet basic living needs, including access to food and health services, treatment and medicines.
  • Ensure that assessments are coordinated across primary health care, rehabilitation, long term care and social services to meet the needs of older people.
  • Implement outreach services and referral mechanisms to identify and ensure care for hidden or stay-behind older people.
  • Coordinate primary health care, rehabilitation, long-term care and social services to establish system referral mechanisms that older clients may require.
  • Assess and organize training for health staff to ensure knowledge of geriatric nutritional, health and medical care needs.
  • Establish information programmes to educate older people, families and caregivers about nutritional needs, medical conditions and health care options.
  • Use disaggregated data to assess services by age and gender.

Objective 5:   Provide Age-Sensitive and Appropriate Health and Humanitarian Services to Maintain Older Peoples’ Health.

  • Ensure that equitable access to shelter, clothing, food and sanitation prevent deterioration of health through integrated individual assessments and referrals to health and humanitarian agencies.
  • Ensure that age-friendly practices are used to promote services to older people with disabilities.
  • Provide access to appropriate health care, including medicines for chronic diseases and disability/restorative aids.
  • Collaborate with communities in identifying community-based home care and support options for frail and disabled older people.
  • When appropriate and feasible, develop mobile clinics to extend health services to older people living in remote locations.
  • Implement mechanisms to assess nutritional balance and ensure access to supplementary food programmes when appropriate, taking into account that many older people also care for children.  Provide education on food preparation using supplementary or locally available foods.
  • Ensure that protection needs of older people are integrated into programming (e.g. social welfare or community services) to identify persons at risk and prevent abuse and exploitation.
  • Undertake monitoring to assess continuing effectiveness of services to older people.
  • Use disaggregated data to assess efficiency of implemented activities by age and gender.

Objective 6:   Promote Cross-Sectoral Planning and Co-Ordination to Raise Awareness of Older Peoples’ Needs in Crises and Reduce Their Risk of Marginalization and Deteriorating Health in Emergencies.

  • Raise awareness among agencies and organizations concerning physical and health issues specific to older people and of ways to adapt basic need support to their requirements (e.g. supplementary food rations, livelihood needs and impacts of protection issues on older peoples’ physical and psychological health).
  • Where possible, include older people in planning and programming committees to increase their visibility and ensure their needs and priorities are integrated.
  • In coordination with appropriate partners, establish community self-help groups to facilitate community care for more vulnerable older people.
  • Recognize self-sufficiency as key to maintaining health and encourage the inclusion of older people in training programmes, income-generation schemes, and community development projects.
  • Establish older peoples’ committees to facilitate self-advocacy and communication with authorities and ministries of health to increase access to existing services and entitlements.

Objective 7:   Build Institutional Capacity and Commitment towards Ensuring the Health and Safety of Older People in Emergencies.

  • Integrate cross-cutting health emergency management issues into global/regional/country strategic plans.
  • Promote inter-agency and cross-sectoral consultation on cross-cutting policy and programming issues to build consensus, commitment and capacity to respond to older peoples’ needs in disasters and humanitarian crises.
  • Collaborate with ministries of health to establish mandates and legislation ensuring the provision of care to older people; apply a human rights framework to these issues.
  • Collaborate with ministries of health to develop options to increase older peoples’ access to affordable health care services, including the implementation of subsidized medical and medicine programmes.
  • Advocate for enhanced funding and humanitarian assistance to older people in emergencies and conflicts.  Encourage funding agencies to recognize older people as a priority.
  • Develop frameworks to promote participatory, transparent and accountable processes to advance the needs of older people.
  • Develop sustainable mechanisms to maintain advocacy and consultation of older people within the health care-system.  Establish and involve advocacy committees in the planning, implementation and evaluation of emergency management practices when appropriate, for example regarding the design of community shelters that may be accessed by older disabled people.

Objective 8:   Strengthen the Capacity of Ministries of Health and Health Care Systems to Meet the Needs of Older People in Emergencies.

  • As required, integrate the medical and nutritional needs of older people into local public health and emergency preparedness and response strategies.
  • Develop strategies to ensure that existing health care systems develop capacity (infrastructure and knowledge) to meet the increasing proportion of older people who will be impacted by disasters in the future, taking into account medical, disability and mental health needs, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Collaborate with communities in identifying community-based home care and support strategies for older people as an option to reduce older peoples’ isolation and vulnerability to disasters.
  • Collaborate with communities to develop and maintain disaster reduction committees.  Assist in the implementation of strategies to strengthen community support to older people and reduce their levels of risk during disasters (e.g. development of community emergency response teams or mutual assistance groups among more vulnerable older people).
  • Integrate older peoples’ needs into exercise designs and facilitate the dissemination of lessons learned.
  • Develop performance frameworks and monitoring mechanisms to assess medical response systems and older peoples’ access to specialty care in emergencies.

Objective 9:   Develop Mechanisms to Ensure Continuing Development and Exchange of Expertise as these Relate to Older People in Emergencies.

  • Develop and provide ongoing training and education to staff on the needs and priorities of older people, including responsibility to include this population in planning and policy development.
  • Integrate issues related to older people in emergencies into relevant university curricula.
  • Undertake comparative research to assess the health status (including access to assistance) of older people in emergencies vis-à-vis other age groups.
  • Undertake research to address demographic shifts and the increasing proportion of older people in disasters as this relates to health care and infrastructure/facility development.
  • Ensure emergency preparedness and response considerations are integrated into relevant services and institutions (e.g. facilities caring for frail and disabled older people are required to develop and practice evacuation and emergency care plans).

Objective 10:   Promote Active Ageing as a Strategy to Reduce Vulnerability and Develop Resiliency to Disasters.

  • Promote a wider understanding among ministries of health and humanitarian organizations of the economic and social factors contributing to the vulnerability of older people, including issues related to livelihoods, inter-generational dependence and social pension.
  • Develop policies that recognize active ageing and resiliency as facilitating older peoples’ capacity to prepare for, cope with and respond to the affects of disasters and conflicts.
  • Include a life course perspective that recognizes health promotion and prevention of disease and disability.
  • Support cross-sectoral forums and activities which link the risks of older people in emergencies to frameworks for livelihoods, protection and gender-based equality, health promotion and social pension.
  • Collaborate with relevant organizations to mainstream the health needs of older people into existing humanitarian programmes addressing shelter, nutrition, livelihoods, protection and gender-based violence.
  • Develop information campaigns and encourage media to highlight both the needs and capacities of older people and to increase their visibility.
  • Collaborate with funding bodies to integrate active ageing as a criterion in funding proposals targeting older people.

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Older People in Emergencies – Urgent Action Required !! (I)

2009-11-25:  In the midst of an economic, financial and fiscal crisis in Ireland … the country has recently been hit by a Major Flood Emergency in the West and South … extending inland almost to the centre.  The emergency will continue over the next few days.

There appears to be no central co-ordination of the response to this National Emergency.  No public guidance or other announcements have been published in the national media.

Further to the full page advertisement promoting the National Older & Bolder Campaign, which was printed on Page 7 of The Irish Times (2009-11-19) … the contents of World Health Organization (WHO) Fact Sheet: ‘Older Persons in Emergencies’, drafted following the 2006 Lebanon Humanitarian Crisis, are both appropriate and particularly relevant for Ireland now …

When dealing with older people in emergencies, a number of issues which might affect them will require special consideration.  Apart from specific chronic disease and disability related issues, two major factors contribute to increased vulnerability of older people in emergencies: the ‘normal’ challenges of physical ageing and social loss, and the ‘environmental’ challenges.  In a crisis, minor impairments which do not interfere with daily functioning in the normal environment can quickly become major handicaps that overwhelm an individual’s capacity to cope.  For instance, an older person with arthritic knees and diminished vision, living alone in a high-rise apartment with no family members or friends nearby, can become incapable of getting food or water or of fleeing danger, and may be overlooked by neighbours.

Specific Issues

There are several specific issues that affect older people, separately or in combination, and which can impact on their ability to respond or react in an emergency.  Awareness of these specific issues by all those giving aid, or surrounding them, will improve interactions.  Knowledge of the age profile in an affected community, as an emergency response is prepared, will help to ensure that older people at risk are identified and that appropriate supplies and services are provided on-site.

The specific issues affecting older people are:

1.   Sensory Deficits (especially vision and hearing)

  • reduced awareness ;
  • difficulty accessing and comprehending visual and auditory information, and responding appropriately ;
  • reduced mobility and risk of disorientation.

2.   Slower Comprehension and Retention of Information (especially new, complex or rapidly delivered information)

  • difficulty accessing information ;
  • difficulties in understanding and acting on risks, warnings, directions ;
  • reduced capacity for self-protection and avoidance of harm ;
  • disorientation in unfamiliar environments ;
  • greater risk for abuse and exploitation ;
  • provision of information in more accessible and structured formats.

3.   Less Efficient Thermoregulation

  • greater susceptibility to hypothermia, hyperthermia and dehydration ;
  • appropriate shelter, clothing and food, as well as adequate fluid intake.

4.   Reduced Functional Ability (poorer balance and reduced speed, psycho-motor co-ordination, strength and resistance)

  • reduced mobility and risk of being housebound ;
  • increased risk of falling ;
  • decreased capacity for self-protection and harm-avoidance ;
  • difficulty getting basic necessities and accessing health facilities, e.g. local clinics ;
  • increased vulnerability to abuse and exploitation.

5.   Difficulties in Urinary Continence

  • need for adequate toilet facilities and continence supplies.

6.   Oral Health & Dental Problems

  • easy-to-eat soft food and fluids may be necessary.

7.   Changes to Patterns of Digestion 

  • need for smaller, more frequent portions of easily-digestible, nutrient-dense food and adequate fluids.

8.   Increased Body Fat Composition, with Decreased Muscle Mass and Metabolic Rates

  • greater sensitivity to certain medications with potential adverse effects on functional ability and cognition.

9.   Greater Prevalence, and Co-Morbidity of Ageing-Related Chronic Disease and Disability (e.g. coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, cancers, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, cognitive impairment)

  • need for condition-specific medications, treatments, medical device and assistance aids (oxygen, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, glasses) ;
  • higher risk for adverse drug reactions.

10.  Weaker and Smaller Social Networks (e.g. widowed, living alone, minimal contact with neighbours, dispersion of family)

  • reduced awareness and comprehension of the situation ;
  • greater risk of social isolation, neglect, abandonment, abuse and exploitation.

11.  Heavy Reliance on Care and Support by Very Few Family Members

  • when essential family support is disrupted, physical and psychological functioning can deteriorate rapidly ;
  • reunification with family is particularly important.

12.  Psycho-Social Issues

  • reactions to loss of home, family and possessions can be more acute for older people who cannot rebuild their lives ;
  • resistance to leaving, and grieving, may be strong.

13.  Reliance of Other Family Members on Older People

  • older people often care for other dependent adults and children and may require resources for others as well as themselves.

Last but not least: Older People should not be considered solely as a Special Needs Group.  From numerous accounts of natural disaster and armed conflict situations, it is known that their knowledge of the community, previous experiences with such events, and position of respect and influence within their families and communities are critical resources in dealing effectively with emergencies.

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MACLAREN Strollers – Bad Consumer Protection in Europe ?

2009-11-11:  In the case of the recent recall of MACLAREN Baby Strollers in the USA … it is troubling to witness what is NOT happening here in Europe … either at the level of the European Union (EU) and its Institutions … or, at national level, in EU Member States.

ALL are failing the European Consumer !!

IF the Maclaren Stroller’s hinge mechanism poses a fingertip amputation and laceration hazard to a child when a consumer is unfolding/opening the stroller … ANDMaclaren has received 15 reports of children placing their finger in the stroller’s hinge mechanism, resulting in 12 reports of fingertip amputations in the United States … HOW ARE THESE PRODUCTS SAFE IN EUROPE ????

Maclaren Baby Strollers are sold in the Americas, Oceania … and throughout Europe and Asia …

Colour photograph of one model of the Recalled MACLAREN Baby Strollers in the USA.  Photograph from U.S. CPSC WebSite.

Colour photograph of one model of the Recalled MACLAREN Baby Strollers in the USA. Photograph from U.S. CPSC WebSite. Click to enlarge.

 

On 9th November 2009, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)www.cpsc.gov … issued the following Press Release #10-033 …

Maclaren USA Recalls to Repair Strollers Following Fingertip Amputations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in co-operation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product.  Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product:  Maclaren Strollers

Units:  About one million

Distributor:  Maclaren USA, Inc., of South Norwalk, Conn.

Hazard:  The stroller’s hinge mechanism poses a fingertip amputation and laceration hazard to the child when the consumer is unfolding/opening the stroller.

Incidents/Injuries:  The firm has received 15 reports of children placing their finger in the stroller’s hinge mechanism, resulting in 12 reports of fingertip amputations in the United States.

Description:  This recall involves all Maclaren single and double umbrella strollers.  The word “Maclaren” is printed on the stroller.  The affected models included Volo, Triumph, Quest Sport, Quest Mod, Techno XT, TechnoXLR, Twin Triumph, Twin Techno and Easy Traveller.

Sold at:  Babies’R’Us, Target and other juvenile product and mass merchandise retailers nationwide from 1999 through November 2009 for between $100 and $360.

Manufactured in:  China

Remedy:  Consumers should immediately stop using these recalled strollers and contact Maclaren USA to receive a free repair kit.

Consumer Contact:  For additional information, contact Maclaren USA toll-free at (877) 688-2326 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s Web site at  http://recall.maclarenbaby.com/

To see this recall on CPSC’s WebSite, including pictures of the recalled products, please go to:  http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml10/10033.html

 

What is Maclaren itself saying on its own  U.S. WebSite ?   Bear in mind that standards … no matter where their origin … are never perfect, and are always requiring revision and regular updates.

IMPORTANT NOTICE

Consistent with our unwavering commitment to child safety we are providing U.S. consumers notice of a voluntary recall of all Maclaren umbrella strollers sold in the U.S.  In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, we are providing free of charge to all affected consumers and retailers a kit to cover the stroller’s hinge mechanism, which poses a fingertip amputation and laceration hazard to the child when the consumer is unfolding/opening the stroller.  The affected models include Volo, Triumph, Quest Sport, Quest Mod, Techno XT, Techno XLR, Twin Triumph, Twin Techno and Easy Traveller.

Maclaren USA’s Umbrella Strollers meet all U.S. ASTM & JPMA compliance standards.  These certifications guarantee our umbrella strollers meet the maximum safety standards available.  The voluntary recall is to alert the operator when opening or closing the stroller of the possible risk of injury.

Safety is our first priority and through this voluntary effort we urge consumers to contact us immediately to obtain the kit which consists of hinge covers designed specifically to fit all Maclaren strollers.

Maclaren stresses all operators read the instruction manual prior to use which contains valuable safety tips and service recommendations.

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Even though it is slightly premature, by just a few weeks, to be quoting what the Consolidated European Union Treaties, as amended by the 2007 Lisbon Treaty, have to say about Consumer Protection … it still makes interesting reading … and, anyway, the legal intent of Article 169 was not actually amended by the Lisbon Treaty …

Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Title XV

Article 169

1.  In order to promote the interests of consumers and to ensure a high level of consumer protection, the Union shall contribute to protecting the health, safety and economic interests of consumers, as well as to promoting their right to information, education and to organise themselves in order to safeguard their interests.

2.  The Union shall contribute to the attainment of the objectives referred to in paragraph 1 through:

     (a) measures adopted pursuant to Article 114 in the context of the completion of the internal market ;

     (b) measures which support, supplement and monitor the policy pursued by the Member States.

3.  The European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure and after consulting the Economic and Social Committee, shall adopt the measures referred to in paragraph 2(b).

4.  Measures adopted pursuant to paragraph 3 shall not prevent any Member State from maintaining or introducing more stringent protective measures.  Such measures must be compatible with the Treaties.  The Commission shall be notified of them.

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