Many older Americans turn to their faith communities and faith leaders for help when they are experiencing abuse. Older survivors know and deeply trust faith leaders and community members and often reach out for assistance in times of great need. As a faith leader, you can play a critical role in responding to abuse as well as improving access to services and supports for older survivors in your community. You may also be in a unique position to observe signs of abuse and indicators of abusive behavior.
COVID-19 and Faith Communities
Amid this social isolation, a quiet, unseen tragedy is unfolding for the approximately 1 in 10 older adults who experience physical, emotional, sexual, financial, and spiritual abuse. While physical distancing will slow the virus, isolation is also a risk factor and a weapon of abuse. Like the pandemic itself, abuse is a matter of life and death: older victims are three times more likely to die prematurely than those who are not abused.
For 89% of older adults, faith is a source of strength and resilience. That’s why we are calling on faith communities and faithful people everywhere to increase their efforts to connect with and support older survivors of abuse.