TALLAHASSEE – The Department of Elder Affairs encourages Floridians to wear purple on Friday, June 15, 2012, in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Department staff will be dressed in purple and urge others to join the cause. Governor Rick Scott has declared June 15 as Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Florida, an occasion to focus on building safer communities for Florida’s almost 4.5 million seniors.
Friday marks the seventh annual celebration of the international recognition. It is estimated that every year 2.1 million older persons in America become victims of elder abuse. Experts believe the incidence of elder abuse is widely under-reported, and that for each reported case of elder abuse, 14 additional cases go unreported.
In the last 12 months, Florida had 31,241 reports of abuse, neglect, exploitation, or self-neglect involving elderly victims – an average of 86 incidents per day, seven days a week. Nationwide, almost 90 percent of all elder abuse occurs in a domestic setting, usually by someone the victim knows.
“Elder abuse, like other forms of violence, is never acceptable, and early intervention and education are the keys to preventing elder abuse,” said Elder Affairs Secretary Charles T. Corley. “The power to prevent elder abuse is in our hands, and it is up to each of us to put an end to this shameful practice.”
The goal of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is to raise awareness of the cultural, social, economic, and demographic factors that affect elder abuse and neglect. At the Department of Elder Affairs, the Elder Abuse Prevention program works to educate all citizens including seniors, caregivers, family members, and professionals who come in contact with seniors. We must empower our seniors to feel comfortable about speaking out regarding what is happening on a daily basis and we as a nation must be able to accept this reality and be able to have open discussions as a community to address this issue.
If you are a victim or suspect elder abuse, please contact the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873). If you would like more information about elder abuse prevention programs, contact the Department of Elder Affairs at 850-414-2000 and ask to speak with your local elder abuse prevention coordinator.
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CONTACT: Ashley Marshall