June 15th is recognized as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This day was designated to raise awareness of the many issues involving abuse and neglect of older persons, some of the most vulnerable people in society. The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization (WHO) at the United Nations (UN) worked together to establish this day of awareness.

According to the National Council on Aging, at least 10 percent of older adults have suffered from elder abuse. The UN’s International Plan of Action recognizes elder abuse as a public health as well as human rights issue.

Elder abuse includes physical, psychological, emotional, or sexual abuse, as well as neglect, abandonment, and financial exploitation. By establishing the Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the goal is to create a call-to-action for people and organizations to further raise awareness about elder abuse and neglect.

In 2010, the Elder Justice Act was passed and became law in the U.S. to provide federal resources to “prevent, detect, treat, understand, intervene in and, where appropriate, prosecute elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.” In 2017, the Elder Abuse Prevention and Protection Act was also passed, which required all 94 U.S. Attorney offices to install elder justice coordinators in every federal judicial district.

Earlier today, Shareholders Denise Mariani and Sherri Warfel attended the World Elder Abuse Awareness event, “Building Strong Support for Seniors,” and met with New Jersey’s acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor, Tracy Thompson. Earlier in the week, the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP) and NJ Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that they were pressing charges against five individuals accused of abusing elderly, disabled adults in their care.

The Building Strong Support for Seniors event was a statewide symposium of government and private organizations dedicated to protecting seniors from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The symposium also offered resources on how the public could identify, prevent, and report incidents of abuse against the elderly.

Denise Mariani is the Chair of Stark & Stark’s Nursing Home practice, and Sherri Warfel is a shareholder in the practice group. Both attorneys are experienced in representing the elderly and their loved ones after they have suffered from abuse or neglect in a nursing home or other facility.

If you or a loved one suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home or other facility, it is strongly recommended that you seek experienced counsel immediately.