World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was observed in Greater Shepparton. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day seeks to prevent elder abuse incidents by giving targeted information and encouraging community participation on a broad scale. The day is about all of us working together to bring greater recognition of the mistreatment of older people wherever they live, and to highlight the need for appropriate action.
In 2011, The United Nations General Assembly designated June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It represents the one day in the year when the whole world voices its opposition to the abuse and suffering inflicted to some of our older generations. This year, 2014, the City of Greater Shepparton commenced observance and raising awareness of Elder Abuse. The Shepparton Interfaith Network participated in this observance.
The global population of people aged 60 years and older will more than double, from 542 million in 1995 to about 1.2 billion in 2025. Around 4 to 6% of elderly people have experienced some form of maltreatment at home. Elder maltreatment can lead to serious physical injuries and long-term psychological consequences. The incidence of abuse towards older people is predicted to increase as many countries are experiencing rapidly ageing populations.
Abuse can take many forms, including financial or material abuse, neglect, emotional or psychological abuse, social abuse, physical abuse, or sexual abuse. Much elder abuse goes unreported, but it is estimated that between two and five per cent of older people will experience abuse. Elder abuse tends to occur in informal networks of trust.
Abuse may make it harder for an older person to stand up for their own rights. It is often more difficult for people to disclose and deal with abuse by relatives and friends than abuse by strangers because of the emotional and social ties that exist within these relationships. People who have been victims of elder abuse may be unwilling to report the abuse or prosecute the abusers as they may believe it’s their own fault; be ashamed that their children/partner is harming them; be dependent on the abuser for income and social networks and fear losing them; worry about being estranged from their children and losing their family; and worry about having to rebuild their finances if they leave the situation. These issues must be taken into account when dealing with elder abuse.
It is also important to be mindful that cultural factors may impact on perceptions of elder abuse as well as approaches to problem-solving among people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
Due to rain and cold weather on 15 June, a follow up event will take place, to be notified by the Shepparton Council.
Mooroopna Tower lit up in Purple in observance of World Elder Abuse Day
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