Bid to stop el­der abuse

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - FRONT PAGE -

ABOUT one in 20 el­derly peo­ple are vic­tims of abuse, but lead­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion for se­niors Ad­vo­care will not let that statis­tic be­come the norm.

ABOUT one in 20 el­derly peo­ple are vic­tims of abuse, but WA’s lead­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion for se­niors re­fuses to let that statis­tic be­come the norm.

Ad­vo­care iden­ti­fies six ma­jor forms of com­mon abuse among the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion of el­derly: fi­nan­cial, psy­cho­log­i­cal, so­cial, phys­i­cal, sex­ual and ne­glect.

Shock­ingly, the ma­jor­ity of el­der abuse is at the hands of adult chil­dren.

The El­der Abuse Helpline was launched in 2014 and cur­rently only takes about 40 calls a month.

Ad­vo­care chief ex­ec­u­tive Greg Mah­ney said the first step to re­duc­ing el­derly abuse was to in­crease aware­ness among the pop­u­la­tion and en­cour­age more vic­tims to come for­ward.

“Ad­vo­care is ex­tremely ac­tive in the com­mu­nity, pro­vid­ing ed­u­ca­tion and sup­port ser­vices across metropoli­tan Perth and re­gional WA,” he said.

He said Ad­vo­care recog- nised many peo­ple were afraid to speak out for fear of dam­ag­ing re­la­tion­ships but the Helpline pro­vided strate­gies and op­tions to com­bat this.

In a bid to im­prove care and qual­ity of ser­vice, the or- gan­i­sa­tion moved into new premises in Vic­to­ria Park last week along­side Vis­ablity and Guide Dogs WA.

Min­is­ter for Se­niors Tony Simp­son of­fi­cially opened the new build­ing and said the govern­ment’s vi­sion for the fu­ture of se­niors was closely aligned with Ad­vo­care.

“By 2021 we’ll have over 600,000 peo­ple in WA over the age of 60, so the vi­sion is to re­ally help them along – with Ad­vo­care – so they have the qual­ity care they de­serve,” he said.

“El­derly abuse seems to be hap­pen­ing to an in­creas­ing num­ber of peo­ple and it’s ob­vi­ous a one-size ap­proach to this prob­lem does not fit all.”

Speak­ers at the launch iden­ti­fied the need to help peo­ple on a more per­sonal, unique level to ad­dress any com­mu­nity mem­bers fall­ing through the cracks.

Vis­abil­ity chief ex­ec­u­tive Clare Allen said the new lo­ca­tion was per­fect for Ad­vo­care be­cause both or­gan­i­sa­tions had sim­i­lar ideals on help­ing vic­tims from the grass­roots.

If you need help con­tact the El­der Abuse Helpline on 1300 724 679.

Ad­vo­care chief ex­ec­u­tive Greg Mah­ney, Monique Withers with Isla and Min­is­ter for Se­niors Tony Simp­son.

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