Call for do­mes­tic vi­o­lence hot­line

The Advertiser - - NEWS - RE­BECCA DIGIROLAMO

FE­MALE baby boomers flee­ing do­mes­tic vi­o­lence are less likely to re­port the abuse than younger women, ac­cord­ing to a re­search group which is calling for a new manda­tory re­port­ing hot­line.

Flin­ders Univer­sity Col­lege of Nurs­ing and Health Sci­ences Dr Lana Zan­net­tino said an el­der abuse hot­line – sim­i­lar to the State Govern­ment’s Child Abuse Re­port Line – would en­able con­cerned fam­ily, friends, neigh­bours, po­lice and health pro­fes­sion­als to re­port abuse.

“There is noth­ing like it out there at the moment and South Aus­tralia could be a role model and lead the na­tion, but if it oc­curs, it needs to be re­sourced prop­erly,” Dr Zan­net­tino said.

The need for the hot­line is in­cluded in a new ac­tion plan that will be launched to­day at a World El­der Abuse Aware­ness Day con­fer­ence in Glenelg.

The plan has been de­vel­oped by Flin­ders Univer­sity, Aged Rights Ad­vo­cacy Ser­vice, Women’s Safety Ser­vices SA, and Unit­ing Care Wes­ley.

Dr Zan­net­tino said the hot­line would es­pe­cially help iden­tify home­less women who were vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

Lat­est ABS data shows 329 SA women aged 55 years and over were home­less in 2016, while lo­cal do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and home­less providers have re­ported a rise in older women seek­ing help in the past year.

Dr Zan­net­tino said joint re­search over the past two years found older women were less likely to re­port abuse.

“Un­like younger women, many of the older women we spoke with would not call the do­mes­tic vi­o­lence help line,” Dr Zan­net­tino said.

“This may be be­cause they were less likely to know or name do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, or are more likely to have been so­cialised with a strong sense of pri­vacy and loy­alty to fam­ily and their hus­bands, so there is a great deal of shame and guilt in­volved in ex­pos­ing do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.”

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