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Media Release – WEAAD 2019

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Seniors Rights Victoria highlights links between mental health and elder abuse.

June 15 is designated World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). It highlights one of the worst manifestations of ageism and inequality in our society, elder abuse.

This year, WEAAD coincides with the Victorian Government’s Royal Commission into Mental Health.

“Elder abuse and mental health are interlinked, with elder abuse having devastating psychological effects on an older person, including depression and anxiety. This, in turn, can lead to social isolation, a significant risk factor for further abuse,” said Jenny Blakey, Seniors Rights Victoria (SRV) Manager. read more

No excuse for elder abuse

MEDIA RELEASE

May 16 2018

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is commemorated each year on 15 June to highlight one of the worst manifestations of ageism and inequality in our society, elder abuse.

Elder abuse is any act which causes harm to an older person and is carried out by someone they know and trust such as a family member or friend. The abuse may be physical, social, financial, psychological or sexual and can include mistreatment and neglect.

WEAAD was officially recognised by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2011, following a request by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA), who first established the commemoration in June 2006.

This year (the name of organisation) will be hosting a (name/type of event) on (day, date) to raise awareness about elder abuse.

(Organisation name), (Title of organiser/spokesperson), (Name of spokesperson), said it was important to raise awareness about elder abuse as it can be experienced by older people with little recognition or response.

“This is a social issue which affects the health, well-being, independence and human rights of millions of older people around the world, and an issue which deserves the attention of all in the community, including this community,” (name of spokesperson) said.

According to the World Health Organisation, prevalence rates or estimates exist only in selected developed countries – ranging from 1 to 10 per cent. Although the extent of elder mistreatment is unknown, its social and moral significance is obvious.

In most cases elder abuse is an intergenerational form of family violence. In 2016-17, people aged 60 years or over made up just over 5,400 of the family members affected in family violence incidents recorded by Victoria Police (Crime Statistics Agency).

Seniors Rights Victoria Manager Jenny Blakey said there was a growing acknowledgement of elder abuse as a form of family violence but still a big disconnect when it came to the highest incidence of abuse – financial – which accounts for 75 per cent of abuse cases managed by the state-wide elder abuse support service.

“Just as respectful relationships within families help prevent family violence, respect for older family members is a primary protection against elder abuse, particularly when it comes to a family’s financial arrangements,” Ms Blakey said.

“Older people are essential in the fabric of our society. It’s time for us to acknowledge their importance and recognise they are entitled to the respect of their communities and especially their families. There is no excuse for elder abuse.”

Ms Blakey said the warning signs of elder abuse may include an older person seeming fearful, anxious or isolated. There may be injuries, or an absence of personal care. Disappearance of possessions, unexplained financial transactions, and changes to a will, property title or other documents are also of concern. While the mistreatment of an older person may be carried out by one family member, it is often other family members who are best placed to support their parent or grandparent against the abuse, provided they recognise what is happening. Like other forms of family violence, most elder abuse occurs behind closed doors, so it is important for loved ones to watch out for signs, listen and offer help.

Older people can reduce the risk of elder abuse by making sure their financial, medical, legal and other affairs are clearly stated and recorded in a family. Older people must also be empowered to recognise the signs of elder abuse and encouraged to state when they are not comfortable with an arrangement. Older Victorians experiencing elder abuse, or family members concerned about an older person, can get help by calling Seniors Rights Victoria on 1300 368 821 Monday to Friday, from 10 am to 5 pm. The website for more information is www.seniorsrights.org.au.

ENDS

For more information or interviews please contact (insert organisation contact name and mobile) or Seniors Rights Victoria’s Media and Communications Adviser Amanda Kunkler on 0407 329 055.

Download WEAAD Media Release 2018

Elder Abuse: Everyone’s business

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is commemorated each year on 15 June to highlight one of the worst manifestations of ageism and inequality in our society, elder abuse.

Elder abuse is any act which causes harm to an older person and is carried out by someone they know and trust such as a family member or friend. The abuse may be physical, social, financial, psychological or sexual and can include mistreatment and neglect.

WEAAD was officially recognised by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2011. According to the World Health Organisation, prevalence rates or estimates exist only in selected developed countries – ranging from 1 to 10 per cent. Although the extent of elder mistreatment is unknown, its social and moral significance is obvious.

Individuals, communities, municipalities and organisations will come together across the globe to hold events on 15 June that raise awareness of elder abuse. These activities are often hosted with the aim of bringing greater recognition of the mistreatment of older adults wherever they live throughout the world and to highlight the need for appropriate action.

Seniors Rights Victoria Manager Jenny Blakey said there was a growing acknowledgement of elder abuse as a form of family violence.

“Just as respectful relationships within families help prevent family violence, respect for older family members is a primary protection against elder abuse, particularly when it comes to a family’s financial arrangements,” Ms Blakey said.

In Victoria, Australia, you are welcome to register your event on Senior Rights Victoria’s WEAAD website. Support your event with promotion material by using the WEAAD Toolkit which includes free image downloads to use as holding slides, email banners and social media prompts. Feel free to customise request for media coverage using our generic media release.

Seniors Rights Victoria is a state-wide specialist elder abuse service that provides information, support, advice and education to help prevent elder abuse and safeguard the rights, dignity and independence of older people. View information on their website is www.seniorsrights.org.au or contact the free, confidential Helpline: 1300 368 821.

Community Rallies to Stop Elder Abuse

On 15 June 2017, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, we stood together as a community in saying “we can stop elder abuse”.

Seniors Rights Victoria and the Office of Public Advocate hosted a booked-out forum at Melbourne Town Hall, at which the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon. George Brandis QC, launched (via video link) the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Report ‘Elder Abuse – A National Legal Response’. We welcomed the release of the Report and commend the Australian Government on recognising the need for this Inquiry, which will provide a strong foundation for future action.

We were pleased to see so many communities coming together to celebrate the rights of older people and raise awareness about elder abuse. In Victoria alone, more than 40 events took place, with the support of local councils, public libraries, community legal centres, neighbourhood houses, aged care facilities, health services and other organisations. Awareness of elder abuse was also raised through print media, radio, television and social media.

We thank all of the organisations and individuals who “went purple” on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day to support the rights of older people to live safely and with dignity.

Each year, Seniors Rights Victoria receives thousands of enquiries from people experiencing elder abuse or worried about someone they know. Elder abuse, a type of family violence, includes any act which harms an older person and is carried out by someone they trust such as an adult child, family member, partner, carer or friend. For free, confidential help, call Seniors Rights Victoria on 1300 368 821.

Pictured: Seniors Rights Victoria staff at the WEAAD 2017 Forum at Melbourne Town Hall

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Forum 2017 – Safeguarding Older Australians

June 15 2017 @ 9:30 am – 12:30 pm

The Victorian Office of the Public Advocate and Seniors Rights Victoria invite you to a free 2017 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Forum in Melbourne on Thursday 15 June.

At the forum, Senator the Hon. George Brandis QC, Attorney-General, will launch the Report of the Australian Law Reform Commission Inquiry into ‘Protecting the Rights of Older Australians from Abuse’.

We will also hear from key presenters:

  • President of the Australian Law Reform Commission, Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM; and
  • Hon. Dr. Kay Patterson AO, Federal Age Discrimination Commissioner.

Part two of the forum will help you gain a practical understanding of how some key organisations are responding to elder abuse. Our lively and interactive Q&A panel will include:

  • Tina Douvos Stathopoulos, CEO of PRONIA;
  • Jenny Blakey, Manager of Seniors Rights Victoria;
  • Sgt Alasdair Gall, Eastern Family Violence Unit, Victoria Police;
  • Meghan O’Brien, Team Leader – Rehabilitation Acute Link Team, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne; and
  • Dr John Chesterman, Director of Strategy, Office of the Public Advocate.
  • read more