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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Posted June 15, 2020
Health

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is today Monday, June 15, with the theme this year focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on the rights of older persons.

Elder abuse is a global issue and in New Zealand affects men and women regardless of the religion, income level, culture, sexual orientation or ethnic group they identify with.

New Zealand research suggests that in any given year more than 13,000 people will experience some form of elder abuse.

Elder abuse can be emotional, physical and financial and can have wide reaching effects on victims. It can also be unintentional – for example by a grown child deciding they know best what to do with their parents’ money or belongings.

As many as one in ten older people in New Zealand will experience some kind of elder abuse. The majority of cases will go unreported.

The abuser is often someone close to their victim. It is someone trusted: family members, friends and even neighbours. Abusers are often someone they depend on for support or care.

Last year Age Concern’s elder abuse services received more than 2,200 referrals. Two thirds of these were confirmed to involve elder abuse or neglect.

More than one type of abuse usually occurs in these situations of which:
• more than 70% involved psychological abuse
• more than 50% involved financial abuse
• 18% involved physical abuse
• 18% involved neglect
• 18% involved self-neglect
• more than 50% of the alleged abusers are children or grandchildren
• more than 75% of the alleged abusers are family/relatives

Elder abuse and neglect is identified by a range of agencies including health providers, Police, Elder Abuse Response Services, lawyers, banks, or other community and government agencies.

If you are concerned about elder abuse call the free helpline 0800 EA NOT OK (0800 32 668 65), text 5032 or email support@elderabuse.nz