Western Cape Government observes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day | Western Cape Government



Western Cape Government observes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

15 June 2021

Today, 15 June 2021, is recognised as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This day is observed to raise awareness of the harm and distress deliberately caused against senior citizens in society. 

The United Nations highlights that Elder abuse can be 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”. It is a deeply concerning societal problem that affects the wellbeing of millions of older persons around the world, and an issue that deserves all our attention.

“All of us have a part to play in protecting the rights and dignity of our elderly citizens. I wish to call on everyone to help us fight the abuse and neglect of older persons 365 days of the year.

I urge anyone who suspects that an older person has or is being abused to report the matter to the relevant authority,” said the Western Cape Minister for Social Development, Sharna Fernandez. 

There are approximately 600 000 older persons in the Western Cape. 9273 elderly citizens are cared for in the Western Cape Government’s Department of Social Development (DSD) funded residential facilities and many more who reside in other private and aided living facilities.

The vast majority of older persons live within communities. Consequently, this means that some older persons may be living with the perpetrators of elder abuse. The types of abuse experienced by older persons include physical, psychological, financial and sexual abuse.

The Department’s overall focus for this vulnerable grouping includes the following:

  • Older persons have access to information about their rights, the range of services available to them and how to access them.
  • Services to older persons are transformed so that 80% have access to community-based support services that promote self-reliance and inter-generational bonding.
  • All residential services are well managed, comply with minimum standards and implement programmes that promote the well-being, safety and security of older persons.
  • A range of interventions is in place to speedily and effectively deal with the abuse of older persons and to systematically eliminate the prevalence of abuse.

“Promoting the dignity and well-being of our elderly citizens, in particular, has been a key focus throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Without the support of the communities we serve, it’s unlikely that we will co-create a society in which the dignity and well-being of all our citizens are restored,” concluded Minister Fernandez.

For more information contact:

Any persons interested in finding out more information about the services we offer, individuals can make contact with our department by calling, 0800 220 250, to be directed to your nearest local DSD office.

Media Enquiries: 

Joshua Covenant Chigome

Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez

Tel: 021 483 9217

Cell: 083 661 4949

Email: Joshua.chigome@westerncape.gov.za­