Voice of the Jewish News: To stop abuse you must recognise it
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Voice of the Jewish News: To stop abuse you must recognise it

This week's editorial reflects on the new campaign by Jewish Care to call out elder abuse in the community

Jewish News Reporter
Nurse holding elderly patient's hand
Nurse holding elderly patient's hand

 Among the more shocking statistics when it comes to the abuse of older people is that one third never tell a soul.

We like to think it couldn’t happen in the Jewish community, such are its strengths and values, but it can – and, as this week’s special report on the issue shows, it does.

Nobody knows better than the elderly that they become more vulnerable with age. As a community, we know our job is to support them. What the latest shocking case of abuse shows is that our duties go beyond that.

We also need to be on our guard against those who profess to support but, in fact, seek to extort, ignore, control or hurt.

Financial abuse, which Jewish charities this week report as being on the rise, often starts at or close to home, with trusted family members or friends being asked, or offering, to help out. Most harbour no ill intentions but, sadly, this is not of everyone.

Abuse can take many forms. Often the intent is not to abuse. We can all picture the elderly man struggling to look after his wife, unwilling to admit he can’t. We understand, but if he’s not looking after her, then it can also be abuse. And abusers, whether by design or chance, do not signpost their abuse, so knowing and reading the signs and symptoms can quite literally save a life.

That is why this newspaper wholeheartedly supports the Jewish Care-Jewish Women’s Aid partnership and the planned workshops, due to start in mid-March, for community members who want to know how they can better identify concerns. They are a must-go.

To put a stop to abuse, we must first be able to spot it for what it is.

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Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.

That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.

We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.

Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”

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