Observing the 10th World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
June 15, 2015
the 10th World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD).
Established by the United Nations in 2006, WEAAD brings together people from
around the globe to shine a spotlight on the mistreatment of older adults.
Each year in the U.S. alone, hundreds of
thousands of older people are abused, neglected, and exploited. Our seniors lose
an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually to financial abuse and exploitation,
depriving them of funds that could have been used to pay for basic needs such as
housing, food, and medical care.
Unfortunately, no one is immune to abuse,
neglect, and exploitation. It occurs in every demographic, and can happen to
anyone—a family member, a neighbor, even you. Yet it is estimated that only
about one in 24 of those crimes are ever discovered.
Every year on June 15, communities and people
around the world participate in WEADD to increase awareness of the problem and
encourage and empower more people to help solve it. For example:
Barack Obama issued a proclamation, stating in part: "Often
under-identified and under-reported, elder abuse is a public health crisis that
crosses all socioeconomic lines, and it is an affront to human rights around the
world. Today, we once again take this opportunity to raise awareness of this
injustice, and with the international community, we recommit to ending this
abuse, supporting those who are victims, and holding perpetrators accountable.”
morning, Assistant Secretary for Aging and ACL Administrator Kathy Greenlee
spoke about the global crisis of elder abuse and U.S. efforts to raise awareness
of the issue around the worldat a WEAAD event organized by the National Adult
Protective Services Association, the International Network for the Prevention of
Elder Abuse, and the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.
a guest blog post for the New York City Elder Abuse
Center, Asst. Sec. Greenlee describes the need for all of us to work
collaboratively and bring unexpected allies to the fight against elder abuse.
She highlights the impact of everyday people, the emergence of
multi-disciplinary teams, and efforts to align and maximize federal actions that
support elder justice.
There was a lot happening in the weeks
leading up to WEADD, as well. The AoA-funded National Center on Elder Abuse
organized a 10-week countdown in which ACL participated. This included:
May 22nd webinar featuring a retrospective on a decade of accomplishments, pilot
findings from the international Worldwide Face of Elder Abuse study, and a
lively panel discussion. Video and a transcript of the webinar are available here.
Of course, the fight to end elder abuse
continues far beyond just one day. Looking for ways to get involved, or
information to share with people who want to get involved? Check out these tools and tips and suggestions for taking action.
As this year’s theme makes clear, it only
takes one action, and one person, to make a difference. Let’s stop elder abuse