26 September 2023

Partnership to combat elder abuse

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The Department of Health is to partner with the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) to produce an online learning package to help aged care providers and health professionals prevent, identify and respond to sexual abuse.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck said the OPAN had received funds to work with researcher, Catherine Barrett to develop an e-learning program for health professionals.

“Assaults on the elderly in any form are deplorable,” Senator Colbeck said.

“These incidents were underlined in the findings of the Royal Commission into Age Care Quality and Safety, and the Government is more determined than ever to ensure those in care are treated with respect and dignity.”

Senator Colbeck said the OPAN’s program, which will consist of 33 online learning modules, would also be aimed at health and allied health workers, such as GPs and optometrists, who might be the only people some senior Australians confided in if they were assaulted.

“Dr Barrett will also launch a #ReadyToListen social media campaign to encourage senior Australians and their families to report sexual assault,” he said.

Senator Colbeck said the initiative would complement the Government’s response to the Royal Commission.

“One of the five pillars of our comprehensive response is a $942 million investment in driving systemic improvements to residential quality and safety, and the learning package is certainly consistent with that objective,” he said.

“I welcome this initiative as a positive step towards building the skills and capacity of aged care providers to better identify, prevent and respond to sexual assault,” Senator Colbeck said.

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