Elder Abuse: Everyone’s business

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is commemorated each year on 15 June to highlight one of the worst manifestations of ageism and inequality in our society, elder abuse.

Elder abuse is any act which causes harm to an older person and is carried out by someone they know and trust such as a family member or friend. The abuse may be physical, social, financial, psychological or sexual and can include mistreatment and neglect.

WEAAD was officially recognised by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2011, following a request by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA), who first established the commemoration in June 2006.

In many parts of the world elder abuse occurs with little recognition or response. It is a global social issue which affects the health, well-being, independence and human rights of millions of older people around the world, and an issue which deserves the attention of all in the community.

According to WHO, prevalence rates or estimates exist only in selected developed countries – ranging from 1 to 10 per cent. Although the extent of elder mistreatment is unknown, its social and moral significance is obvious.

Individuals, communities, municipalities and organisations will come together across the globe to hold events on 15 June that raise awareness of elder abuse.

Senior Rights Victoria encourages organisations to celebrate the positive contributions of older people in our communities.

“Older people are essential in the fabric of our society. It’s time for us to acknowledge their importance and recognise they are entitled to the respect of their communities and especially their families,” Seniors Rights Victoria Manager Jenny Blakey said.

In Victoria, Australia, you are welcome to register your event on our WEAAD website. We’d like to support your event with our WEAAD Toolkit which includes free image downloads to use as holding slides, email banners and social media prompts. Feel free to customise request for media coverage using our generic media release.

Seniors Rights Victoria provides information, support, advice and education to help prevent elder abuse and safeguard the rights, dignity and independence of older people. Please visit our website www.seniorsrights.org.au or contact our free, confidential Helpline: 1300 368 821.