The V.I. Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Division of Senior Citizen Affairs today joins hundreds of organizations, both public and private, around the world to bring awareness to elder abuse and the prevention of it.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15 annually) and World Elder Abuse Awareness Month aim to educate and empower people around the world to be a part of the critical network of safeguarding seniors in our homes and communities. Elder abuse can happen to anyone, but it is increasingly prevalent when seniors are isolated and alone with their abusers; for instance, during the present COVID-19 pandemic.
Many elders are unable to stand up or speak up for themselves either because of their ailments or because they are afraid of the repercussions. These are the reason why Elder Abuse Awareness Month is so very important.
No elder deserves to be abused, but unfortunately, it does occur. Elder abuse can be physical, verbal, emotional, sexual or financial. Elder abuse occurs when an older person is mistreated or harmed by a person or people they trust. Elders are often victimized by other family members, caregivers, friends or neighbors.
DHS abhors elder abuse in all its forms and places the highest value on securing the safety of every vulnerable senior in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Office of Adult Protective Services (APS) is the arm within the DHS that is legally mandated to investigate in a timely manner all referrals of abuse, neglect or financial exploitation. Adult Protective Services is also responsible for arranging protective services that ensure safe living conditions for seniors.
DHS wants every senior to know that no one has the right to hit them, to humiliate them, to threaten them, to isolate them, to deprive them of daily care or to take their money or property.
Say something if you see something. In order to do so, you must be aware of the warning signs. If you suspect that you or someone you know is a victim of abuse, neglect or financial exploitation, call Adult Protective Services at the V.I. Department of Human Services. All calls and referrals are confidential.
Contact the St. Thomas APS office at 774-0930 ext. 4239; contact the St. Croix APS office at 642-8820