hourglass safer ageing stopping abuse World Elder Abuse Awareness Day #WEAAD2021 for safer ageing and ending elder abuse

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – what do I need to know?


What is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day?

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – or WEAAD – is held on 15th June every year, across the world. It is the globally recognised day to highlight the abuse and neglect of older people, helping us to act against it.


WEAAD was started by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) in June 2006, and was officially recognised by the United Nations in 2011.


The colour associated with the day is purple.



What is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse is defined as “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person”.


Abuse can occur as a spontaneous act, where the perpetrator takes advantage of a situation, or as a premeditated and calculated act. At base, these forms of abuse stem from the real or perceived vulnerability of older people. 


Globally, it’s estimated that approximately 1 in 6 people will experience abuse – however Hourglass’ (2020) research suggests that 1 in 5 older people in the UK have personal experience of abuse as an older person or know someone who has been abused - with almost 2.7 million victims thought to be affected across the country.


Despite the high number of people affected, the abuse of older people is rarely directly acknowledged in media reports, and too many older people facing abuse or neglect find their voices are left unheard.


Find out more about elder abuse here.



How does Hourglass help?

At Hourglass, our mission is simple: end the harm, abuse and exploitation of older people in the UK. 


As the only UK charity dedicated to calling time on the abuse and neglect of older people, we staff a free-to-call helpline as well as email, text service and Instant Messenger services – providing a vital lifeline for the older people and their concerned loved ones, ensuring their voices are heard. We also urge for changes in the law, calling for the criminal justice system to try harder to support the older people and make safer ageing possible.


With an ageing population, we need to turn the hourglass for millions of people before it’s too late.


You can find out more about Hourglass here and our services here.



How can I get involved?

This year, we are launching the purple love heart challenge – asking that everyone share a purple love heart emoji to show their dedication to the rights of older people.


We will be sharing activities, information and more across the day, so one of the best ways to get involved is to keep an eye on our website and social media pages!


You can also donate to help us be there for older people today and every day.