Senior Citizens during World Elder Abuse Awareness Day at Shumba Valley Lodge

By Madali Chibambu

  • Under the theme “Spotlight on Older Persons in Emergencies,” the Gauteng Department of Social Development hosted the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), highlighting the importance of protecting and supporting older individuals during crises.
  • Key stakeholders, including various government departments and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), participated to educate and share information with older persons.
  • The programme emphasised the necessity of reporting elder abuse and outlined measures to protect elderly victims, including court policies to ensure their safety and transparency.

The Gauteng Department of Social Development recently hosted World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) at Shumba Valley Lodge and Conference Centre in the West Rand. The event, themed “Spotlight on Older Persons in Emergencies,” highlighted the critical need to protect and support older individuals during crises.

Recognised by the United Nations General Assembly, WEAAD is held annually on June 15th. The primary aim is to raise awareness about elder abuse, defined as any act or lack of appropriate action within a relationship of trust that causes harm or distress to an older person.

Key stakeholders, including the Departments of Health, Justice, Correctional Services, and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), were invited to share information and educate older individuals. The programme attracted attendees from various regions and institutions across Gauteng.

Advocate Matume Modiba from the Department of Justice and Correctional Services acknowledged the prevalent issue of elder abuse by youth, noting that many elderly victims fail to report these incidents to the police or social workers. “Elders suffer due to a lack of evidence in court and often protect the perpetrators. However, we have implemented a policy where every elderly victim testifies on camera, similar to children. This protects them from the perpetrators and allows them to feel free and transparent,” said Modiba.

Nozizwe Pii, Manager of SASSA Randfontein, emphasised the government’s commitment to supporting the elderly, provided that incidents are reported to the relevant authorities. “Older people need to enjoy their grants, and the government will continue to ensure their well-being,” assured Pii.

Patric Mgodzo from the Department of Health expressed appreciation for the event, stating that it provided a valuable opportunity to interact face-to-face with older individuals. “The event was a significant step in raising awareness and ensuring the protection and support of older persons in emergencies,” he added.

The WEAAD event not only underscored the importance of elder abuse awareness but also fostered a sense of community support, emphasising the need for continued efforts to protect and empower older individuals in times of crisis.

Picture taken by: Madali Chibambu

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