World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD)

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is a global event for the last 17 years, celebrated every year on 15th of June. On this day, various local and global communities gather around, with the intention to recognise the impact of global abuse and neglect faced by the elderly.

Apart from promoting a better life by raising awareness around the cultural, economic, social, and demographic roots. WEAAD also endorses the United Nations International Plan of Action, which recognises elder abuse as an issue of public health and human rights. WEAAD stands as a beacon of action for individuals, communities, and organisations to raise awareness of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

The Types of Elder Abuse

Elder abuse could be a single or recurring act, or a lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, causing injury or distress to an older person. This global social issue impacts the health and human rights of older people, necessitating global attention.

There are five principle types of elderly mistreatment which the researchers and legal statutes recognise:

  • Physical abuse – acts carried out intending for physical pain or injury.
  • Psychological abuse – acts causing emotional pain or injury.
  • Material exploitation – Misappropriation of the elder’s money or property.
  • Neglect – Failure to meet the needs of the older person.
  • Sexual assaults

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2023 Theme

This year 2023, the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day theme is “Addressing Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Older Age – Policy, Law and Evidence-based Responses”. It advocates the influence of gender on the risk of abuse and strives to recognise the knowledge gaps that intersect with elder abuse.

Elder abuse is a problem that exists in both developing and developed countries yet is typically underreported globally. Prevalence rates or estimates exist only in selected developed countries — ranging from 1% to 10%. Elder abuse requires a global multifaceted response, one which focuses on protecting the rights of older persons. Approaches to define, detect and address elder abuse need to be placed within a cultural context. For example, in some traditional societies, older widows are subjected to forced marriages while in others, isolated older women are accused of witchcraft. From health and social perspectives, unless both primary health care and social service sectors are well equipped to identify and deal with the problem, elder abuse will continue to be underdiagnosed and overlooked.

If you suspect can older person/s is a victim of elder abuse please engage with a PADCA social worker on Telephone: 033 345 4711 or E-mail: socialwork@padca.co.za