More than 500,000 older people experience abuse each year – with the majority suffering in silence, a report has found.
Nearly 90 per cent of elderly victims never reach the attention of adult protection systems and are left vulnerable to their attackers.
Most vicitims also live in the community, not in care homes or other institutions the study conducted by Action on Elder Abuse found.
Now actress June Brown, famous for her role as Dot Cotton in Eastenders, has lent her voice to a new video encouraging people to come forward and talk to the elder abuse hotline.
June said: “It is frightening that so many older people endure appalling neglect and abuse without ever getting the support and help that they need.
“It’s almost like a silent scream from our friends and neighbours that we have to hear.
“That’s why I’m encouraging people to talk to Action on Elder Abuse. Help is at hand, we just need people to reach out and grasp it.”
In 1993 the charity established the definition of elder abuse which has been adopted by the World Health Organisation .
It read: “A single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.”
Gary FitzGerald, Chief Executive of Action on Elder Abuse, said, “We are delighted that June has supported this video, which has been produced by people touched by the cruelty of elder abuse.
“We have to break the silence that surrounds this issue, and World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an excellent time to do it, when countries all around the world unite to voice their opposition to this suffering.”
To ring the hotline call 0808 8088 141.