World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Quick Facts - GB

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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 (WEAAD) is a campaign that seeks to raise global awareness of the mistreatment of older persons. The initiative aims to engage communities, professionals, and policy-makers to collectively address issues surrounding elder abuse, including neglect and financial exploitation. The day also seeks to promote the understanding of the nature and extent of elder abuse, while highlighting the importance of developing community interventions for prevention and improved response to the issue.

Though WEAAD was established by the United Nations General Assembly and the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse in 2006, the United Kingdom has shown increasing commitment to dealing with the issue at hand. In fact, according to a 2017 study by Age UK, an estimated 1 in 6 older people in the UK experiences some form of elder abuse. As the country's population continues to age, it is crucial for British citizens to engage with WEAAD to better support, protect, and empower the elderly population.

In the United Kingdom, various activities and events are organised to mark the observance of WEAAD. These typically involve government bodies, organisations and community groups hosting workshops, seminars, presentations, and awareness-raising campaigns that focus on the protection of older persons. Public displays of support are also common, with individuals wearing purple ribbons or clothing to symbolise their vigilance against elder abuse. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is observed worldwide on June 15th each year.

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.
  • In many cases, the abuser is someone close to the elderly person, such as a family member, neighbor, or caregiver. In fact, 50% of elder abuse cases reported in the UK involve a family member as the perpetrator.
  • The financial impact of elder abuse can be considerable. UK banks reported over £48 million in losses connected to scams targeting elderly people in 2020, with an overall potential loss of around £1.7 billion nationally considering unreported cases.

Top things to do in the UK 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 the United Kingdom. Here are our top picks:
    1. Panorama: Crisis in Care(2019) - A two-part investigation into the crisis in care for the elderly in the UK, this BBC documentary explores the challenges faced by families caring for elderly relatives.
    2. An Age for Justice (2020) - This documentary, available on YouTube, looks at incidences of elder abuse within the United Kingdom, as well as discussing possible solutions and prevention methods.
    3. Behind Closed Doors: Crimes in Care Homes (2017) – This Channel 4 Dispatches program investigates allegations of abuse, neglect, and mistreatment in UK care homes.
    4. The Unseen Holocaust (2016) – This documentary, released on YouTube, highlights the growing problems of elder abuse and neglect within the UK.
  • Read a book to learn more about the issue of elder abuse in the United Kingdom. Here are our recommendations:
    1. Action on Elder Abuse: Good Practice Guide by Jenny Mears
    2. Elder Abuse and Neglect: Effective Social Work Policy and Practice by Suzy Braye, Bridget Penhale, and Deborah Orr
    3. Adults at Risk: Prevention and Protection in a Reluctant Welfare State by Michael Preston-Shoot

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