Councilmembers proclaim Elder Abuse Awareness Day
StoryRaising the curtain on an issue that often stays in the shadows, the Metropolitan King County Council today proclaimed June 15, 2009, as Elder Abuse Awareness Day in King County and encouraged communities to look out for the safety of elderly residents.
“As the proud son of my healthy, mentally sharp, but very senior mother, ensuring that our elders are treated with the care, respect, and dignity they deserve is an issue that’s near and dear to my heart,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, sponsor of the proclamation. “We can all play a role in looking out for vulnerable elders who have made a lifetime of contributions to our community and need our care and protection from financial, emotional, and physical abuse.”
“Violence against young and old is unacceptable in King County,” said Councilmember Julia Patterson. “Educating the public about the signs of violence is one way we can help raise awareness of the problem, and encourage people to intervene if they witness violence against the frail and vulnerable.”
“This week we celebrated my dad turning 85 years young! When I see all the contributions he and other elders make to their community with their many areas of expertise, it makes it clear to me how important it is that we protect our elders from any abuse,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who served on King County’s Domestic Violence Council to help improve responses to and prevention of domestic violence.
Communities around the globe celebrate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day every June 15th. Inflicted on vulnerable seniors across all socio-economic boundaries, elder abuse is any act that harms a senior or jeopardizes his or her health or welfare, including neglect or financial, emotional or physical abuse.
The National Center on Elder Abuse found that the most common perpetrator of elder abuse is the victim's spouse or partner, making it a form of domestic violence. Representatives from King County's Domestic Abuse Women's Network (DAWN) were on hand to accept the Council’s proclamation and speak about the issue of elder abuse. DAWN recently announced it is expanding its focus on elder abuse by hiring a full-time advocate for the prevention of elder abuse.
“Sadly, many cases of elder abuse involve family members,” said Councilmember Lambert. “Many older people who are victimized by partners feel ashamed, embarrassed, depressed and afraid to confide in friends and family. Financial security issues also prevent older women from reporting abuse. Fortunately, King County has many resources available to assist seniors experiencing abuse.”
For more information, go to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Web site or call (206) 296-9010.