Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate unanimously approved a bipartisan resolution introduced by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), the Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a Member of the Committee, declaring June 15, 2016, as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The resolution calls attention to the problem of elder abuse around the nation, and honors all those that fight for justice for victims. U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Dean Heller (R-NV) cosponsored the resolution.
“As the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, one of my top priorities is stopping abuse, fraud, and financial exploitation targeting our seniors,” said Senator Collins. “This problem is immense, affecting millions of seniors every year. Unfortunately, however, many cases of elder abuse are never reported or discovered because the victim is too ashamed to report the abuse, particularly when it involves a family member. As a consequence, the true impact and incidence of this kind of abuse is still largely unknown. To help remedy this problem and increase awareness, organizations around the world and in the State of Maine have taken action and continue to work tirelessly to raise awareness of elder abuse and to protect the rights of aging adults.”
“By recognizing World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, this bipartisan measure raises awareness of the utterly unconscionable scourge of elder abuse in our society and honors the dedicated people who help protect our nation’s elders from these shameless crimes,” Senator Blumenthal said. “It is our duty to shed light on the horrendous situations in which criminals defraud our seniors of their hard-earned life savings, or in some cases even physically abuse them. This abuse of our country’s elders is too often overlooked, and we must do everything in our power to ensure their financial security and physical safety.”
Nationwide, it’s estimated that more than two million – one in every ten adults over 60 – are the victims of abuse, neglect, or exploitation each year; the vast majority of these cases go unidentified or unreported. Financial abuse alone results in seniors’ loss of $2.9 billion each year. This resolution recognizes survivors of elder abuse, and commends those who dedicate themselves to the prevention, response, and prosecution of abuse and exploitation of seniors.
The resolution recognizes that public awareness has the potential to increase the identification and reporting of elder abuse by the public, professionals, and victims, and can act as a catalyst to promote issue-based education and long-term prevention;
In addition to designating June 15, 2016, as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the resolution: