Wear turquoise on 15 June – World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Wear something turquoise to show your support for the UN World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which is commemorated every year on 15 June.

Closing the Circle is the theme for this year – and it’s all about the need to address gender-based violence in older person’s policy, law and evidence-based responses. At Tafta, we’ll be observing the day through online, public and home-based activities at our various facilities.

“We encourage our supporters to follow our call-outs and requests made through our social media platforms,”  said Tafta CEO, Femada Shamam. “Abuse is often concealed because victims are too afraid to speak out against the perpetrators. The more vocal and open we become to discussing and addressing issues of elder abuse, the more comfortable elders become to report acts of harm and neglect inflicted against them.”

National toll-free elder abuse helpline

In November 2022, Tafta launched a national toll-free elder abuse helpline to encourage reporting of abuse. Since then, the Helpline has dealt with over 1500 calls from all parts of South Africa. Many calls came from rural areas – from Katlehong in Gauteng to Polokwane in Limpopo, from Frances Baard in the Northern Cape to Nquthu in KZN.  In addition to providing crisis counselling, we passed on 143 written referrals to service providers in these areas.

“In past reviews of reported cases, the vast majority of elder abuse claims were made by females. However, following the launch of our confidential helpline, many male elders have come forward to report acts of financial abuse, physical harm and neglect from their primary caregivers,” said Shamam.

“Often the primary caregivers for elders living in the community or private residences are members of their family, or close relations. This is often the reason for lack of reporting, as victims feel the need to protect those that are meant to care for them.”

Tafta will spend the month of June promoting the national helpline through various interactive talks facilitated by our Social Workers at public locations; through online campaigns, and by requesting our supporters share the contact line far and wide.

Share Information

“Although our efforts to reach elders within the community are extensive, we still rely on the help of others to share information with those who need it. We encourage the general public to offer support to elders in need, either by recognising the signs of elder abuse and reporting it to Taft. Or by sharing the toll-free number 0800 10 11 10 with an elder who may be in an abusive situation,” added Shamam.