WA Budget increases funds for elder abuse

The 2019-20 Western Australia Budget will provide a $1.2 million boost to raise awareness of elder abuse, with the WA Elder Abuse Helpline to receive more resources to support its work tackling the growing issue.


The $1.2 million State Budget commitment forms part of the Government's new $2.3 million package to combat elder abuse.


Resources will also be directed towards providing training initiatives to help professionals who work with seniors identify suspected abuse, new education and awareness resources for the community, and a range of further measures.


The WA Elder Abuse Helpline is in many cases the first port of call for vulnerable seniors who suspect they may be experiencing elder abuse.


The hotline, run by service provider Advocare with State Government support, provides confidential advice for older people who may not have close friends or family to confide in with cases of suspected abuse.


Increased support for Western Australia's local helpline is critical, especially in light of the Federal Liberal Government's recent decision to launch a new hotline number without any corresponding funding support.


With elder abuse victims sometimes socially isolated and reliant on their abuser for help with daily tasks, the State Government will develop new training packages to help professionals who work in the banking, health and community services sectors to identify and report suspected elder abuse.


Elder abuse continues to be misunderstood in the community, and a new education and awareness package will continue the McGowan Government's work to elevate the issue in the minds of the public.


Seniors and Ageing Minister Mick Murray said, "Elder abuse is becoming an increasingly prevalent issue in the community as our population ages and more seniors come to rely on friends and family for support.


"Unfortunately in some cases people exploit these relationships, which can lead to financial, psychological or physical elder abuse.


"The training packages will provide professionals who work with seniors the tools to identify and report suspected abuse. Bank workers, for example, would be helped to identify customers potentially experiencing financial elder abuse.


"This funding package will be followed by the release of a more comprehensive WA Elder Abuse Strategy in the second half of this year, which will complement the significant funding package in the upcoming State Budget."


23 April 2019.