Call to end elder abuse

Leading elder abuse prevention organisation launches national campaign and website to provide information and practical advice to respond and prevent elder abuse.


With the pandemic creating rising financial stress and more children likely to move back in with their elderly parents, or elderly parents moving in with the children, there are growing concerns about the potential for increases in elder abuse, says Australia peak elder abuse body Elder Abuse Action Australia (EAAA).


EAAA says the elder abuse sector has been reporting a higher than usual demand in changes to wills and to bank accounts, along with a 40% increase of calls to at least one state helpline.


“Elder abuse is everyone’s business, we all have a part to play,” says EAAA co-chair Diedre Timms. “We believe around 10% of older Australians experience elder abuse – nearly half a million people. So it’s a huge concern that the current situation with COVID-19 may be increasing its occurrence.


“We need to lift the veil on this previous closed-door issue and to do that, we are asking the community to become aware of what constitutes elder abuse and then to take action. This is a community wide issue and we need everyone’s commitment to eradicate elder abuse in Australia.”


To help empower the community to recognise, prevent and respond to elder abuse, EAAA has launched the first national campaign to shine a light on elder abuse. The campaign includes the launch of a new national community resource and website, Compass.


The Compass website provides a broad range of information and resources for Australians to better understand what elder abuse is, what it might look like, and what can be done about it.


It includes dedicated sections for people experiencing elder abuse, and those witnessing elder abuse, including definitions, signs and behaviours, tips on how to respond and prevent it, and a service directory of authorised and qualified providers across Australia to find appropriate help.


It’s the first step in the EAAA’s mission to eradicate elder abuse.


“Elder abuse is confronting. As it often happens behind closed doors to members of the community that don’t have a voice, or don’t realise that how they are being treated is maltreatment, it can be difficult to recognise. But there are signs and steps that can be taken. Older people need to know they are not alone.


“Compass is a first in that it provides the information and tools to do just that, with practical advice and resources for anyone in Australia to take action,” Timms continued.


“Given the increasing reports of elder abuse due to COVID-19, we are pleased to have launched Compass at such a critical time. Elder abuse in all its forms must be stopped.


“We encourage the community to use this resource to help protect the social, physical, financial and emotional wellbeing of our elderly citizens.”


If you want to talk to someone call the National Elder Abuse Helpline: 1800 ELDERHelp (1800 353 374)


19 August 2020.