Doutta GallaNews – Standing Up for Seniors on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Standing Up for Seniors on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

July 11, 2024

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is observed globally each year on 15 June. Designated by the United Nations General Assembly, the day serves as a crucial reminder to combat the abuse, mistreatment, and neglect of the elderly within our communities.

“Elder abuse is a serious issue that reveals itself in various forms,” says Glenn Rappensberg, CEO of Doutta Galla. “This includes financial, emotional, psychological, physical, sexual, and social abuse. It can occur as a single incident or repeatedly over time, with severity ranging from subtle to extreme. Alarmingly, most elder abuse is perpetrated by someone known to the older person, often an adult child or other family members, relatives, or friends.”

Elder abuse transcends gender and socio-economic boundaries but disproportionately affects women—two-thirds of those seeking help are women. A recent study on elder abuse prevalence in Australia, provided by Seniors Rights Victoria (SRV), highlights a troubling statistic: 14.8% of those aged 65 and over have experienced at least one form of elder abuse within the last year. This equates to approximately 160,000 older Victorians enduring abuse annually, a figure that is likely underreported.

SRV was established in 2008 as a programme of the Council of the Ageing (COTA) Victoria. As a specialist Community Legal Centre, SRV is a member of the Victorian Federation of Community Legal Centres, advancing the rights of older people.

“As our population ages, the incidence of elder abuse is expected to rise,” Mr Rappensberg continues. “By 2046, it is projected that more than 2.3 million Victorians, approximately 25% of the population, will be aged 60 or older. By 2050, at least 213,000 older people will not be able to access the residential care they need.”

Rappensberg stresses the critical role of organisations like Doutta Galla in this context. “Without organisations like Doutta Galla, our vulnerable elders would have poorer choices ahead. That means we will continue to meet our goal of providing superior care to everyone who needs it, regardless of their financial situation.”

At Doutta Galla, the commitment to providing a safe, respectful, and nurturing environment for elders is paramount. “We must stand united against elder abuse, ensuring dignity and respect for all older adults,” Mr Rappensberg asserts. “This World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, we reaffirm our dedication to protecting the rights and well-being of our elders and residents, and to building a future where every older person receives the care they deserve.”


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