26 September 2023

ADC finds older people in new danger

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The NSW Ageing and Disability Commission (ADC) has reported on the abuse of older people in NSW, finding a 38 per cent increase in recent reports with 53 per cent of them involving adult children.

Commenting on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day which held a week ago (15 June), the Minister for Seniors, Jodie Harrison said the numbers would continue to rise unless the community talked more about elder abuse.

“Most of us do the right thing by our parents but the unfortunate reality is that there are older people in our community who are not coming forward to get help because they are fearful of losing their relationship with their adult children,” Ms Harrison said.

“Safeguarding older people from abuse requires an unwavering commitment from government and I am committed to creating a safer community for our senior citizens in NSW,” she said

She said the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was an opportunity to talk about the uncomfortable truth and encourage older people and those around them to reach out for support or make a report.

Commissioner of NSW Ageing and Disability, Robert Fitzgerald said most of the reports about older people related to psychological and financial abuse.

“Of the reports we received about older people, 40 per cent related to psychological abuse, which includes verbal abuse or preventing access to family or friends,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

“The good news is more reports are coming in from a broader range of people, which is sending a signal that we are all becoming more aware of elder abuse and will not tolerate it.”

He said ADC 2020-2022 data on reports about abuse of older people showed 67 per cent of reports about abuse related to older women.

“Regional NSW accounted for just over half of the reports with the Hunter, Illawarra Shoalhaven and Central Coast the most common areas,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

“Adult children (29 per cent) and paid workers (28 per cent) were the main reporters,” he said.

He said the signs of abuse could include the older person no longer receiving the services they needed to live, being prevented from speaking or seeing family, friends or grandchildren, or unable to spend or access their own money.

Mr Fitzgerald said anyone could call the NSW Ageing and Disability Abuse Helpline on 1800 628 221 (Monday to Friday, 9-to-5) for information, support or to make a report.

“You can also be anonymous,” he said.

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