June 15th 2020 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and each year on this day, people came together throughout Shropshire, the United Kingdom and the world to send out a clear message that the abuse and neglect of our older generation will not be tolerated.
Our most recent reportable data from 2018/19 suggests that nationally, 2,462 people per 100,000 aged 85 and over are involved in enquiries about abuse that must be undertaken by the local authority. This compares with 125 per 100,000 under the age of 65. In Shropshire in the same year this was 248 per 100,000 aged 85 or over in comparison with 42 per 100,000 under the age of 65. This provides us with clear evidence that those aged 85 and over are at a higher risk of being abused, usually by people they know.
Because of COVID-19 we are having to do things differently to make sure our messages can still be heard. Dean Carroll (Portfolio Holder for Adults, Social Services and Climate Change) said
“Older people deserve the same dignity and respect as people of all other age groups and we need to put this right. Abuse is serious problem that affects the health, well-being and human rights of those affected so it is vital to raise awareness of it, preventing it whenever and wherever possible.”
Shropshire Safeguarding Community Partnership are doing three things:
- Launching their COVID-19 Domestic Abuse poster
- Asking people to wear purple in solidarity against abuse
- Asking people to talk to their parents and grandparents about abuse so they know what it is and are better able to protect themselves
This is what “Jessica” an older victim of Domestic Abuse had to say
“I was helped by my support workers and safeguarding to move out of my house and into a bungalow after 40 years of abuse. Sometimes my support workers bought me a cup of tea with their own money, as I did not have any. He would shout at the carers as well as me. He used to cancel my care and wanted to stop me going to the day centre but he was using my money that paid for the care. He bloody took my money and I did not see any of it. I had friends before but they stopped coming to see me because of him. He was very rude to them. He said no smoking in the house and told them to get out.
I live on my own now and it is much better, I’m happier. I went shopping and bought furniture and new curtains. Things are a lot better now but I was nervous. My money is now locked in a safe and I have my hair done every two weeks. The police came and visited me to check on me every week. It was nice to see them. I felt safe.”
Ivan Powell, Independent Chair of Shropshire Safeguarding Community Partnership said
“Help us empower older people and our communities this World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Show your support by discussing this safely with them and wearing purple. If someone asks you the significance of purple you can start a conversation about elder abuse, sadly it is more common than you think but is rarely discussed.”
A downloadable image and PDF of the Domestic Abuse And COVID-19 in Shropshire poster is available on this page.