Delaware to Observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
NEW CASTLE – Delaware will observe the seventh annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on Friday, June 15, with a series of events in the state’s three counties. Attorney General Biden, representatives of the Department of Health and Social Services and other state agencies, law enforcement officials and other advocates will take part in the events.
The Delaware events will feature a screening of the documentary “An Age for Justice: Elder Abuse in America,” remarks by Biden and his staff, and a representative from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, who will speak about financial fraud crimes against seniors.
Focusing on this year’s theme, “Stop Abuse and Financial Exploitation” (SAFE), the events are designed to bring greater recognition of mistreatment of older adults and highlight the resources available to victims and their families.
“As a state of neighbors, we watch out for our fellow Delawareans, especially our seniors,” Gov. Jack Markell said. “Far too many cases of elder abuse go unreported. If we suspect something is wrong, we want people to act. Our oldest residents are among our greatest treasures. Taking care of them is our collective responsibility. ”
At each event Friday, winning entries of the Senior Protection Initiative’s annual high school YouTube video contest also will be screened, and a tree will be dedicated as a lasting reminder of the persistent need to combat these crimes within families and in Delaware’s communities. The trees were donated by the Delaware Center for Horticulture.
The events will take place at the following times and locations:
New Castle County
Newark Senior Center
200 White Chapel Drive, Newark
Modern Maturity Center
1121 Forrest Avenue, Dover
CHEER Community Center
20520 Sand Hill Road, Georgetown
“With our fast-growing senior population in Delaware, the state will need ever-increasing vigilance from all residents to identify and report possible cases of senior abuse, neglect or exploitation,” said Rita Landgraf, Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services. “We ask you to stand up for the dignity and respect that our seniors deserve.”
Media and members of the public are encouraged to attend and are reminded to wear purple. In addition to the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day events, the cupola at Legislative Hall in Dover will be lighted purple on Friday evening and throughout the weekend to show support for the fight against senior abuse.
“It’s a sad reality that for every case of senior abuse that is reported to authorities, five more cases go unreported,” Attorney General Biden said. “We’re confronting this epidemic by shining a light on these terrible crimes and responding aggressively against perpetrators.”
Biden established the Senior Protection Initiative in 2008 to increase educational outreach and bring together state agencies, law enforcement, and other advocates to tackle crimes against seniors. The initiative consists of three components:
1.) expanded public education with programs that highlight the signs of senior abuse, educate seniors about ways to avoid being a victim, and encourage victims to report their abuse;
2.) training to law enforcement, first responders, and service providers to help them recognize and respond to the signs of physical abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation, and
3.) the creation of a Multi-Disciplinary Team consisting of prosecutors, police, social services representatives, and others with the mission to identify and pursue senior abuse cases.
Anyone who suspects a senior is being victimized by neglect, physical abuse or financial exploitation is urged to call Delaware’s Adult Protective Services hotline at (800) 223-9074. Those who suspect a case of senior abuse in a Delaware-licensed residential facility are urged to call the Division of Long Term Care Residents Protection at (877) 453-0012.
To learn more about elder abuse awareness and prevention efforts in the First State, visit the Senior Protection Initiative at www.delaware.gov/ConnectingGenerations.