World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Is June 15th: What To Know
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is observed on June 15th every year to raise awareness about the abuse and neglect faced by the elderly population across the world. The United Nations General Assembly officially recognized this day in December 2011 and it is now observed in more than 90 countries.
Elder Abuse is a Global Problem
Elder abuse affects millions of older adults every year. It can take many forms, including physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse, as well as neglect and abandonment. Elder abuse can occur in both private and institutional settings, and it is often perpetrated by family members, caregivers, or other trusted individuals.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 1 in 6 older adults worldwide have experienced some form of abuse in the past year. However, elder abuse remains largely underreported and under-recognized, with many victims suffering in silence and isolation.
The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the issue of elder abuse, with many older adults being forced to stay at home and rely on caregivers or family members for assistance. The pandemic has also led to increased social isolation and financial stress, which can make older adults more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.
How To Raise Awareness
As we observe WEAAD on June 15th, it is critical to raise awareness about the issue and to take action to prevent and respond to elder abuse. Here are some things you can do:
- Educate yourself: Learn about the different types of elder abuse, the signs and symptoms, and how to report it.
- Check in on older adults: Reach out to older adults in your community and check in on them regularly. Offer to help with groceries, medication, or other needs they may have.
- Report suspected abuse: If you suspect that an older adult is being abused, neglected, or exploited, report it to the appropriate authorities. This could include adult protective services, law enforcement, or a local ombudsman.
- Support organizations working to prevent elder abuse: There are many organizations that work to prevent elder abuse and support victims. Consider making a donation or volunteering your time to support their efforts.
- Advocate for policies and laws that protect older adults: Contact your elected officials and urge them to support policies and regulations that protect older adults from abuse and exploitation.
Rights to Justice
Elder abuse victims have the right to justice and legal remedies for the harm they have suffered. That includes:
Seek a Restraining Order
Elder abuse victims in immediate danger may be able to obtain a restraining order against their abuser. A restraining order can prohibit the abuser from contacting the victim or coming within a certain distance of them.
Filing a Lawsuit
Elder abuse victims may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the abuser or the institution where the abuse occurred. This could include claims for damages such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
Participate in Criminal Proceedings
If the abuse is criminal in nature, elder abuse victims may be able to participate in criminal proceedings against the abuser. This could include testifying in court or providing evidence to the prosecution.
Access Victim Services
Elder abuse victims may be eligible for victim services, which can provide support and assistance with navigating the justice system. Victim services can include counseling, legal advocacy, and help with obtaining restraining orders or filing lawsuits.