World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is held on 15 June each year to raise awareness of elder abuse and educate the community on how to identify, report and address this issue.
Elder abuse is a complex and far reaching issue, affecting up to 75,000 Western Australians. It can take many forms, including financial or material, emotional or psychological, social, neglect, physical and sexual abuse.
For example, financial and material abuse may be using a senior's money or property without their permission. Emotional or psychological abuse can include threats of abandonment and intimidation, even threats to harm pets.
The majority of cases reported in WA involve financial and psychological elder abuse, with family members the most common perpetrators.
When perpetrators are family members or close friends, this can lead to feelings of shame or guilt, which in turn can prevent older people from seeking help or reporting abuse.
The Department of Communities works to reduce elder abuse in WA through the provision of information designed to support individuals and service providers.
Although addressing or responding to elder abuse may feel overwhelming, resources, support services and advice are available:
- Call the Elder Abuse Helpline 1300 724 769 (this service is run by Advocare and funded by the Department of Communities)
- Public awareness campaign posters and postcards are available from the Communities website
- Additional resources including a brochure detailing the forms of elder abuse are available on the Advocare website.