Elder Abuse Awareness Week 15-22 June 2018 - It's OK to ask for help

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Elder Abuse Awareness Week runs from the 15-22 June 2018, starting with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on 15 June 2018.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was officially recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2011. This was in response to a request by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, who first started the awareness raising day in June 2006.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, the theme this year is focused on encouraging people to ask for help and support.

Age Concern New Zealand Chief Executive Stephanie Clare said "...that the shame or stigma [of elder abuse] means people don't always report abuse happening within their family."

Where to go for help and support

In July 2017, the Ministry of Social Development's Super Seniors launched the Elder Abuse Response Service, 0800 32 668 65 (0800 EA NOT OK). The free national helpline provides support for older people at risk of or experiencing abuse and for people who have concerns about an older person.

For local support, see the list of Age Concern Elder Abuse Services and Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Services. Also see Age Concern's brochure, Do you have questions about the safety of an older person/Kaumātua? to find out more more about their services.

Other helplines

As part of the It's not OK campaign, the 0800 Family Violence Information Line (0800 456 450) provides information and referrals to local services for people experiencing or using violence and for people who want to support others.

Safe to talk - He pai ki te kōrero is a national 24/7 helpline for people affected by 'sexual harm' and sexual violence. Contact the helpline by calling 0800 044 334, texting 4334, emailing support@safetotalk.nz or webchat on www.safetotalk.nz.

Resources for Elder Abuse Awareness Week

Super Seniors from the Ministry of Social Development has a number of resources you can order and Age Concern has resources available from their website. These resources include posters, information about services, prevention tips, wallet cards and more.

More information about elder abuse

In 2017, the World Health Organization announced findings from a study showing that elder abuse is increasing with nearly one in six people over the age of 60 experiencing some form of abuse.

Previous research published by the Ministry of Social Development has found that about one in ten older people in Aotearoa New Zealand reported some form of abuse. The Age Concern New Zealand Media Release for 2018 WEAAD includes statistics from calls for elder abuse services, finding that 76% of alleged abusers are family members.

Update: The Office for Seniors has published a brief video to raise awareness about elder abuse.

International reports and research

Elder Abuse Response Toolkit an online resource from Senior Rights Victoria; also see their discussion papers published in 2018 on Elder Abuse as Family ViolenceElder Abuse, Gender and Sexuality and Preventing Elder Abuse 

Elder Abuse Community Action Plan for Victoria (2018) from the Australian National Ageing Research Institute

Elder Abuse— A National Legal Response (2017) is the final report from the Australian Federal government inquiry into elder abuse; also see the Issues Paper on Elder Abuse (2016) and Discussion Paper (2016)

Brief on violence against older women (2016) part of the global Violence Against Women and Girls Resource Guide

Elder abuse: Understanding issues, frameworks and responses (2016) from the Australian Institute of Family Studies

Preventing and Responding to Domestic & Sexual Violence in Later Life (2016) special collection from US-based VAWNET

Working with Older Survivors of Abuse (2016) from the US National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life

Survivors in the Margins: The Invisibility of Violence Against Older Women (2015) published in the Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect

Also see our Elder abuse and neglect: a selected bibliography (2012) and the quick topic search of our library on elder abuse.

Related news

In April Minister for Seniors Tracey Martin announced that the Government will develop a new Positive Ageing Strategy. Minister Martin said a consultation would run from June through August. Details about the consultation have not yet been announced.

Update: Minister Martin has launched the public consultation on developing the new positive ageing strategy.

The Ministry of Health released the Healthy Ageing Strategy 2016 to replace the Health of Older People Strategy 2002. The strategy included an action plan with some actions related to family violence and elder abuse and neglect. One of these actions is focused on updating the 2007 Family Violence Intervention Guidelines: Elder Abuse and Neglect.

Selected media

Positive Ageing Strategy document released, Beehive Press Release, 29.06.2018

Elder abuse in NZ expected to be more prevalent than figure of one in 10 older people, One News, 16.06.2018

Elder abuse can be a subtle thing, Otago Daily Times, 16.06.2018

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Press Release: ANZASW, Scoop, 15.06.2018

‘It stays hidden’ - Age Concern urges people to closely watch for elder abuse, One News, 15.06.2018

How you can help prevent financial elder abuse, Press Release: NZ Bankers' Association, Scoop, 15.06.2018

World Elder Abuse Day to raise awareness of harm caused to older people, Wanganui Chronicle, 15.06.2018

Financial abuse of elderly 'rampant' in New Zealand with drug-use part of the problem, Stuff, 15.06.2018

World Elder Abuse Day highlights problem, The Southland Times, 15.06.2018

Seniors in migrant communities can be more vulnerable to elder abuse, The Indian Weekender, 14.06.2018

Elder abuse often linked to loneliness and isolation: Age Concern Nelson Tasman, Stuff, 13.06.2018

Hauraki, Coromandel "not immune" to elder abuse, Stuff, 11.06.2018

Elder abuse problem 'underestimated' in society: social worker, Taranaki Daily News, 05.06.2018

Unfortunately elder abuse getting more common in our society, Taranaki Daily News, 03.06.2018

Reported elder abuse tip of iceberg, Manawatu Guardian, 31.05.2018