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Elder abuse alliance to work to end “scourge on society”

Quelling elder abuse will be the charge of a national alliance, officially launched yesterday by Commonwealth Attorney-General Christian Porter, at an event hosted by Seniors Rights Service.

The Federal Government earmarked funding for a new elder abuse peak body in October last year.

Elder Abuse Action Australia (EAAA), a network of organisations and individuals targeting the issue across Australia, will work towards the development of a national plan to combat the problem.

Pat Sparrow, chief executive of alliance partner Aged & Community Services Australia, said EAAA will contribute significant resources to tackling the problem of abuse at its root cause and develop solutions to address abuse in all its forms.

“The work of EAAA brings the issue to prominence and demonstrates a commitment to eliminating elder abuse in all forms through education and prevention.

“The community has a role to play getting behind this issue and raising awareness and understanding to help eliminate elder abuse once and for all,” Sparrow said.

Chief executive of COTA Australia Ian Yates said elder abuse is a manifestation of ageism and a sign of a much broader complex societal problem in our attitudes towards older Australians.

“Elder abuse is an epidemic gripping our nation and we are delighted to see politicians, industry bodies and advocacy groups working together to develop a meaningful social response to tackle elder abuse.

“COTA Australia welcomes the Federal Government’s allocation of $500,000 towards the establishment of the EAAA to protect the rights of older Australians and a further $50,000 in sponsorship for the 6th elder abuse conference in July next year,” said Yates.

The official launch was timed to coincide with today’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) said it marks a day for Australians to recognise and call out the systemic mistreatment and neglect of the nation’s elderly.

The union said it’s a time when people come together to voice their opposition to the abuse and suffering that is inflicted on older people around the globe, and to highlight the need for appropriate action.

ANMF assistant federal secretary Annie Butler encouraged nurses and carers working in aged care in particular to report any concerns they have about possible abuse of nursing home residents or others in the community to the Aged Care Complaints Commission.

ACSA’s Sparrow said the best antidote to elder abuse is a society that recognises and respects the inherent worth and dignity of all older people.

“Elder Abuse is a scourge on our society that has devastating consequences for older people,” she said. “We know from research that the problem can take many forms – physical, financial, psychological, and others – but we also know the difficulty of detecting abuse, and together with prevention, the issue represents a significant public policy challenge.”

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