“No Virginia, elder abuse is not when Grandpa swore at you.”
Stories of horrific sexual assault of the elderly shocked even the most hardened social workers when its prevalence, the violence associated with it and the difficulties of prosecution were detailed at a 2006 Australian Association of Gerontology symposium in Sydney yesterday. . . . International studies showed that sexual predators gravitated towards the aged because of their vulnerability and the difficulties victims had in providing reliable evidence. (SMH 16 June 2006)
15 June 2006, was the 1st annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day sponsored by the International Network for the Prevention for Elder Abuse (INPEA). The day is in support of the United Nations International Plan of Action which recognizes the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue. It promotes better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons. There are activities around the world to raise awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.
Abuse and neglect of older persons is largely under-recognized or treated as an unspoken problem. No community or country in the world is immune from this costly public health and human rights concern. The International Network for the Prevention for Elder Abuse (INPEA) was founded in 1997 and is dedicated to global dissemination of information as part of its commitment to world-wide prevention of elder abuse. Acknowledging the diversity of culture, background, and life style of the world population, INPEA aims to increase ability, through international collaboration, to recognize and respond to the mistreatment of older people in whatever setting it occurs, so that the latter years of life will be free from abuse, neglect and exploitation.
The United Nations is addressing elder abuse through UN Programme on Ageing, for example in the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing agreed at the Second World Assembly on Ageing in 2002. The first World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Global Symposium is being held on 15 June at the UN Headquarters in New York.
In Australia seminars were held on 15 June in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide to mark International Elder Abuse Awareness Day. A Model Policy to assist aged care services to prevent and responding to the abuse of older people will be launched at the Sydney seminar, organised by the Australian Association of Gerontology, and has been published on the website of the Benevolent Society.