senior man reading on deck

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day shines a light on a major issue

Published: 16 June 2022
  • wa
  • 16 June 2022
  • Government of Western Australia

Western Australians are encouraged to wear purple today to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day has been officially recognised by the United Nations since 2011 and provides an opportunity for people around the world to unite in voicing opposition to elder abuse and the suffering it inflicts upon victims.

By wearing purple, it's hoped Western Australians will raise awareness of the issue and of the support services available to those at risk of or experiencing elder abuse. Elder abuse affects many older Western Australians and may involve financial, social, physical, sexual, psychological, and emotional abuse.

The State Government has a continuing commitment to the prevention of elder abuse, and Western Australia's first State-wide dedicated elder abuse legal service, Elder Rights WA, recently became fully operational across WA.

Elder Rights WA will provide legal assistance to older people experiencing all forms of elder abuse and will safeguard and advocate for the rights of older people.

The service has been developed by Legal Aid WA in partnership with the Department of Communities.

The McGowan Government is delivering on an election commitment to provide funding of $4 million over four years to Legal Aid WA to deliver Elder Rights WA.

The Department of Communities has joined with Bankwest to deliver several events to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, with events also being hosted by the McGowan Government's four funded community partners - Advocare, Council on the Ageing Western Australia, Legal Aid WA and the Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre.

Digital screens in Bankwest branches across the State will promote World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, while public libraries in WA will distribute elder abuse awareness bookmarks to help inform people and promote the supports available for older Western Australians.

Iconic Perth landmarks, including Optus Stadium, Bankwest's Wentworth Building, Matagarup Bridge, Council House, Trafalgar Bridge, Fraser Avenue in Kings Park, Elizabeth Quay and the Bell Tower will today be lit up in purple.

There will be information displays and merchandise giveaways, in partnership with Bankwest and elder abuse community service providers, at Karrinyup Shopping Centre and Mandurah Forum.

The giant Purple Road textile art installation, which shines a light on deeply personal and collective experiences of elder abuse in WA, will also be displayed at Parliament House, Karrinyup Shopping Centre and Mandurah Forum.

More information on elder abuse and available resources can be found here or through the WA Elder Abuse Helpline and Information Service (1300 724 679).

Comments attributed to Seniors and Ageing Minister Don Punch:

"Elder abuse is a significant issue in our community that has attracted national and local attention, and growing momentum for action.

"It is a complex social, health and human rights issue experienced and carried out by Western Australians of all backgrounds.

"As it is largely hidden and underreported, raising awareness of elder abuse through initiatives like World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and supporting older people to have access to information and support services is essential to addressing this issue."