World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

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2024 Date15 June 2024
2025 Date15 June 2025

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day History

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is a global observance that raises awareness about elder abuse, a tragic issue affecting millions of older adults around the world. The objective of this annual event is to provide an opportunity for communities to demonstrate their commitment to protecting the rights, dignity, and well-being of older persons. Key aspects of the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day include promoting public education and information sharing, encouraging community engagement and action, and highlighting the need for governments, organizations, and individuals to take a stand against elder abuse.

The United Nations General Assembly officially declared World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in 2011, emphasizing the need to address the challenges faced by our ageing populations. In Australia, elder abuse is a significant concern, as older adults represent an increasing proportion of the population. According to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, by 2057, the number of Australians aged 65 years and over is projected to more than double. Consequently, the prevalence of elder abuse is rising, impacting Australian families and communities. This observance is vital to help educate Australians about the different forms of elder abuse, recognize the signs, and take appropriate action to prevent and address the issue.

Various activities and events are held across Australia to observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Communities, organizations, and individuals participate in forums, conferences, seminars, and workshops to learn about the issue and share best practices for prevention and response. Public facilities and landmarks may be illuminated in purple – the official colour of the campaign – to show support and raise awareness. In addition, the media play a crucial role in disseminating information to the public, covering stories on elder abuse and reporting on local activities. In Australia, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is observed every year on June 15th.

Facts about World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that 1 in 6 older adults worldwide experienced some form of elder abuse in the past year.
  • Women tend to be more at risk of elder abuse than men. This is due to factors such as longer life expectancy, higher likelihood of living alone, and a higher prevalence of widowhood among older women.
  • It is estimated that only about 1 in 24 cases of elder abuse is reported to authorities. Factors that contribute to underreporting include fear, shame, dependence on the abuser, cognitive impairments, and lack of awareness or accessible reporting mechanisms.
  • The prevalence of elder abuse in Australia is estimated at around 2%-14% of the older population. The key forms of abuse include financial, psychological, physical, sexual, and neglect.
  • Financial abuse is the most common form of elder abuse in Australia, with estimates suggesting that up to 81% of all elder abuse cases involve financial exploitation. This can include theft, coercion, fraud, and unauthorized control over an older person’s property, finances, or legal affairs.

Top things to do in Australia for this observance

  • Check out 10 priorities focused on health and ageing.
  • Learn more about the UN's Decade of Healthy Ageing.
  • Watch a documentary to learn more about the issue of elder abuse in Australia. Here are our suggestions:
    1. The Unseen. This documentary investigates elder abuse in aged care facilities in Australia. The film is based on interviews with elderly residents and their families, revealing shocking accounts of abuse and neglect.
    2. Aged Care Abuse Documentary. This investigative documentary focuses on the abuse and neglect of elderly people in Australia's aged care system. It features interviews with affected individuals and exposes the lack of support from government agencies.
    3. Dignity of Risk. Dignity of Risk is an Australian documentary that explores the concept of dignity of risk and discusses the importance of respecting the autonomy and rights of older individuals while ensuring their safety.
  • Read a book to learn more about the issue of elderly abuse in Australia. Here are our top picks:
    1. Elder Abuse: Issues for Policy and Practice in Australia by Kieran McCaul and Charmaine Power
    2. The Mistreatment of Older People: An Australian Perspective by Jillian Broadbear
    3. Neglect, Abuse and Violence Against Older Women: Strategies for Prevention by Marianne Hester and Hanri Walter

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