Communities across the world are gearing up to commemorate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15. The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) urges you to join us in commemorating by bringing awareness to this issue in your own unique way. WEAAD launched in 2006 to shine a spotlight on the abuse and neglect experienced by millions of older adults – crimes that are too often overlooked or unreported. On this day, we have the opportunity to increase awareness about abuse in later life, learn what to do if we suspect abuse or neglect, and stand united against elder abuse.
OVW remains committed to raising awareness about and taking action to reduce abuse in later life. Since 2006, 97 communities have received funding through OVW’s Enhanced Training and Services to End Abuse in Later Life Program (Abuse in Later Life Program), which has made it possible for thousands of law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, victim service providers, and other professionals who work with older victims to receive vital training to recognize and address elder abuse.
As the percentage of older Americans continues to grow, the number of older adults experiencing abuse in later life is also increasing. Victim service providers can play a key role in enhancing the safety and quality of life of older survivors. These providers offer free, confidential support through helplines, emergency shelters and transitional housing, legal advocacy, counseling, and support groups that can be beneficial for victims in later life.
The National Clearinghouse for Abuse in Later Life (NCALL) has utilized OVW support to create the Abuse in Later Life Education Series for Advocates. The series consists of 13 inspirational and instructional video clips featuring national experts discussing key topics advocates encounter when serving older survivors. Each module explores themes highlighted in NCALL’s Working with Older Survivors of Abuse: A Framework for Advocates, such as domestic violence in later life, sexual abuse in later life, victim-defined advocacy, mandatory reporting, and elder-informed victim services.
We encourage you to get involved in local WEAAD events because you can make a difference. Here are some ideas:
- Take advantage of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day to highlight domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking in later life in your community. Tag your social media posts with #WEAAD.
- Use the phrase “victims across the lifespan” to promote recognition of older victims in written materials.
- Include images of older adults in brochures, posters, and presentations.
- Include examples of abuse in later life in educational events.
- Conduct outreach where older adults gather.
- Highlight older victims during domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking awareness months.
- Work collaboratively with experts in aging network services and elder abuse.
Find additional information and resources on elder abuse at:
- U.S. Department of Justice, Elder Justice Initiative
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, neglect, or exploitation, visit the U.S. Department of Justice Elder Justice Initiative webpage, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).