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Preventing elder abuse is everyone’s business

18 Nov 2015

Elder Abuse Information Line – 1800 037 072.

Darwin Community Legal Service ‘Aged and Disability Advocacy Service’ has an Elder Abuse Information Line – 1800 037 072.

Elder abuse is a violation of human rights and a significant cause of injury, illness, lost productivity, isolation and despair.

Elder abuse is any act occurring within a relationship where there is an implication of trust, which results in harm to an older person. Abuse may be physical, sexual, psychological, financial abuse or neglect from someone in a position of trust, such as family members, friends, carers, paid/volunteer workers or professionals.

Older people have the right to live free from abuse, neglect, violence or exploitation. More than 36 percent of Australians over 65 were born overseas. Older migrants may not understand what elder abuse is and, they also might not have the English language skills that would allow them to seek help.

Both older men and women can be at risk and, an example of financial abuse that might cause concern to older people, is being asked to transfer their assets to a son or daughter.

More effective strategies are needed to prevent elder abuse from occurring, to increase community awareness of elder abuse, and to improve the support and protection of older people who are abused.

The World Health Organization estimates one in 10 older people experiences elder abuse each month, but there is no Australia-wide data on the issue. Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan is asking the federal government to help combat the spate of elder abuse.

Ms Ryan is requesting the federal government to fund a national prevalence study, to set up a national financial abuse hotline and a national register for powers of attorney to ensure clarity as to who has responsibility of an older persons’ financial affairs.

Darwin Community Legal Service ‘Aged and Disability Advocacy Service’ has an Elder Abuse Information Line – 1800 037 072. It is a free, confidential and independent service for all Territorians and can provide referrals and information that may help people make informed choices about their situation.

Preventing elder abuse in an ageing world is everybody’s business.

Wednesday 15 June 2016 – World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
COTA (NT) is planning a World Elder Abuse Awareness Day conference in partnership with Darwin Community Legal Service and Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University.

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