Press Release

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Rick Scott

David E. Wilkins

June 15, 2012
MEDIA CONTACT: Erin Gillespie,
Press Secretary,
(850) 717-4450
DCF Communications
~ State investigated more than 64,000 allegations of abuse,
neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults last year ~

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. – Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and the Department of Children and Families is joining with community partners throughout the state to bring awareness to the needs of vulnerable adults across Florida.

Each year, thousands of elderly adults and individuals with disabilities are mistreated by family members, caregivers or others responsible for their well being. Last year, DCF investigated 64,010 allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation of adults.

"Every day, hundreds of elderly or disabled adults are being mistreated physically, emotionally or financially," said Secretary David Wilkins. "Please take time to check on your family members, friends and neighbors to make sure that the needs of these vulnerable members of our community are being met."

Experts estimate that only one in six cases of elderly abuse are reported and investigated. Elderly people are reluctant to report their mistreatment and they often go without the help they need and deserve. Unfortunately, no one is immune to abuse, neglect or exploitation. It occurs in every demographic and can happen to anyone. To read a story about how one Florida veteran was rescued from a neglectful situation, visit our blog today at

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was launched on June 15, 2006, by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations. Wearing purple today serves as a call-to-action for individuals, organizations and communities to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Here are some ways you can help prevent abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults:

  • If you suspect an elderly or disabled adult is being victimized, call the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873.
  • Keep in contact with older friends, neighbors and relatives. It might be their only chance to talk to someone about any problems they might be experiencing.
  • Contact your local Area Agency on Aging to identify programs and support, such as Meals on Wheels. These programs help seniors maintain health, well-being and independence.
  • Volunteer at a local program that helps vulnerable adults.
  • If you are wearing purple or have a purple ribbon in support of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day today, please take your photo and pin it on your Pinterest board with #WorldElderAbuseAwareness in your description. We will repin your photo to our board at
  • For more information, fact sheets, an awareness tool kit, posters and more, go online to the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse at