detail of older woman's hands knitting. she is wearing a purple jacket.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is marked each year on June 15. This year, many events have had to be cancelled to protect older people who are at greater risk of catching COVID-19. There are still ways to participate and promote awareness though.

This year’s theme is Elder abuse: Everyone’s business, and it is everyone’s business. It is our responsibility as a community to watch out for our friends, families, neighbours and to make sure they are safe and protected. If you see or suspect, don’t just let it go by unquestioned. 

Elder abuse is any act that causes harm to an older person, usually by a trusted family member, friend or carer.

The abuse can be in any of the following ways:

  • physical (pushing, shoving, hitting and other forms of violence)
  • social (isolation from friends, family and community participation)
  • financial (accessing and using funds from an account either without permission or with coercion) 
  • psychological (constant putdowns, gaslighting)
  • sexual (inappropriate touching)
  • mistreatment and neglect

Affecting the health, wellbeing, independence and human rights of millions of older people, elder abuse demands to be the focus for all in the community. Older people have the right to live in safety, with dignity and respect.

In the age of the COVID-19 crisis, it is now more than ever critical that we work together to identify and deal with cases of violence and abuse against older people.

Did you know?

  • According to the UNAround 1 in 6 older people experience some form of abuse, with figures predicted to rise with an ever-ageing population.
  • With lockdowns reducing access to the community, carers, services and visitors, our older citizens are in danger of being forgotten.
  • The pandemic is reducing community participation and normal safety checks for older people, especially those who live at home alone. 

Shining a light

Around the world, purple lights are used on World Elder Abuse Day to raise awareness and spark conversations on elder abuse and neglect. Your community might project purple lights on prominent buildings on Monday, such as the Melbourne Town Hall and Bendigo Post Office have in previous years. 

Wear Purple

You can show your support and start a conversation by wearing purple to promote awareness of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Be a part of the conversation. Stir a Cuppa for Seniors or be a good neighbour and check-in with the people around you. 

Get help

Elder Abuse is Everyone’s Business.
The national phone line 1800 ELDERHelp (1800 353 374).
When you call this number you will be put through to your state's helpline for information and advice.

If life is danger call 000.

Call Lifeline for help on 13 11 14.

Call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.

Links

The Warm Safe Home Project is an online craft project that raises awareness about elder abuse and the services available to support people experiencing it.

For The Warm Safe Home Project, the Men’s Shed Warrnambool has made small cardboard houses that people can decorate, prompted by a What does… What was…or What do… sentence starter. For more information see COTA Victoria

The Warm Safe Home Forum - Preventing elder abuse across the South Western region of Victoria. There will be an online forum next Thursday 18 June from 10.30 am -12.00 pm. It will include a keynote address by Hon Susan Ryan AO followed by a panel discussion lad by Seniors Rights Victoria.

The Seniors Rights Victoria website has a list of upcoming events to commemorate the day and bring to the fore the issues of elder abuse.

Seniors Rights Victoria advocates for the prevention of elder abuse by providing information, advice and education. Safeguarding the rights, dignity and independence of older people is its paramount aim.

Seniors Rights Service is a state-wide community organisation supporting older people with free and confidential legal advice, aged care advocacy, social work support and education forums throughout NSW.

Ageing and Disability Abuse Helpline Report concerns about abuse, neglect and exploitation of older people and adults with disability caused by someone they know in their family, home and community.

Council on the Ageing (COTA) Victoria Inc Peak organisation representing the interests of older people in Victoria.


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