World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2024

June 14, 2024

June 15th, 2024, marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. A time for communities to stand together against abuse, mistreatment, and neglect of older people. Supporters of the cause are encouraged to wear purple on the day to stand in unity.

What is elder abuse?

There are many different forms of elder abuse. Most cases of elder abuse are perpetrated by the adult children or close relatives of the older person being abused.

The most common type of abuse is emotional and psychological abuse. Psychological abuse is a pattern of behaviour by someone that causes an older person distress or mental pain. This can come in the form of threats, control, manipulation, fear, or humiliation. It can be hard to detect because it is usually done in private, often in the home of the victim.

Second is financial abuse, when someone steals or misuses an older person’s money or property. It often happens alongside another form of abuse, like psychological abuse or social abuse. Financial abuse can be the theft of large or small amounts of money and can also be perpetuated through the misuse of an enduring power of attorney. When financial abuse is occurring, an older person feels that they have no control over their own money.

Third most common is social abuse. Social abuse happens when an older person is actively being isolated from family and friends. The aim of social abuse is to make the perpetrator the only person that the older person has contact with.

Other types of abuse are physical abuse and neglect. Physical abuse is hurting or harming someone causing pain or injury. Neglect is not giving a person the things that they need to live comfortably and be healthy. Neglect can be intentional or unintentional.

Hands of an older person crossed on their lap.

What can do about elder abuse?

Elder abuse is often hidden and can be hard to detect. Make sure that older people in your life have access to the resources that they need. The best way to find out if an older person is being abused to have a conversation with them. If the person is in immediate danger, you can call 000, or you can also contact Seniors Rights Victoria to discuss your concerns and seek assistance for the older person. This is a free and confidential service.

Read our post on elder abuse - what to look for.