THE number of Queenslanders seeking help and advice about elder abuse is growing as more people become aware of the seriousness of the issue and the support available.
Almost 1500 elder abuse notifications were made to the Elder Abuse Helpline during the last financial year.
Minister for Seniors Coralee O'Rourke, “As more and more Queenslanders become aware of the issue of elder abuse, we are seeing notifications to the Helpline increasing each year,” Mrs O’Rourke said.
“This increase can be attributed in large part to a greater awareness of this issue and because victims and witnesses are becoming more willing to report this insidious form of abuse.
“We can no longer allow elder abuse to be swept under the carpet and treated as a private matter that should be kept in the family – we all need to take a stand and protect some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”
Mrs O’Rourke said the ‘There’s no excuse for elder abuse’campaign was run to raise awareness, break down stigmas, and encourage people to call the Helpline if they suspect someone is experiencing elder abuse.
“Thousands of community groups, non-government organisations, councils, libraries and hospitals across the state receive posters, brochures and help cards as part of this campaign.
“Calls to the helpline have increased, both during and after this campaign.”
The Government provides $730,000 to the Elder Abuse Prevention Unit (EAPU), which operates the Elder Abuse Helpline.
The Helpline provides free and confidential advice for anyone experiencing elder abuse, or for those who suspect someone they know may be experiencing elder abuse.
EAPU’s data shows financial abuse is now the most reported type of elder abuse in Queensland.
This includes pension theft, theft, misuse of cards, extortion, refusal to repay loans or return assets, and misuse of an enduring power of attorney.
Mrs O’Rourke said the Queensland government was committed to preventing, responding to and raising awareness of all forms of elder abuse.
“This commitment is supported by a $4.6 million investment this financial year for elder abuse prevention and support services.
“Additionally, $400,000 per year for the next three years has been allocated to provide specialist financial advice through 10 seniors legal and support services.”
For more information about elder abuse visit ‘There’s no excuse for elder abuse’.
The World Health Organisation defines elder abuse as: “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.
“Elder abuse can take various forms such as physical, psychological or emotional, sexual and financial abuse. It can also be the result of intentional or unintentional neglect.”
If you are experiencing abuse or think someone you know is experiencing abuse call the Elder Abuse Helpline in your state. If you are immediate danger call the Police on 000.
Elder Abuse Helplines:
ACT. 02-6205 3535