World Elder Abuse Awareness Day · June 15, 2022

By: Brianna MacLean

“To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors.”
Tia Baker

On June 15, 2006, the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) established the very first Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The goal was to bring this serious issue to the forefront of public knowledge, so that we might come together for one of the most vulnerable groups in our communities.

Unfortunately, there are still significant blind spots in the research regarding elder abuse, primarily due to so many cases going unreported over the last sixteen years. While the average estimate is that 4-8% of Canadian elders are subject to one or more forms of abuse at some point in their lifetime, the overall consensus of professionals is that the actual number is significantly higher.

These blind spots also come in the form of restrictive stereotype of how elder abuse looks. While the traditional perception is of physical abuse and overall neglect, recent reports have actually identified financial and emotional abuse as the forms of harm that make up the majority of reported cases of elder abuse in Canada. Tragically, these specific cases are not random crimes committed by strangers, but rather are a genuine betrayal of trust. According to available research, the primary perpetrators of elder abuse are traditionally trusted individuals in an elder’s life, such as caregivers, friends, staff, and even members of their own family.

All substantial change in the world starts with awareness. Thus, through the public recognition and promotion of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, this blatant violation of fundamental human rights and public health can be addressed and combatted. On June 15, 2011, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was officially recognized on a global scale by the United Nations, ensuring that the voices of our elders and their advocates will have the chance to be rightfully and loudly heard.

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