The peak body for non-profit aged care providers Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) has welcomed the Government’s announcement that it will invest $23 million in a Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) designed to protect older Australians from abuse and neglect.
ACSA CEO, Patricia Sparrow said the announcement was a step in the right direction for tackling an issue that has historically not been given the attention it deserves.
“While elder abuse has gained media attention over the last few years, the issue and its victims have previously been ignored. This is a good initiative, but we know there is still work to do and we need to keep advocating for older Australians,” said Ms Sparrow.
“ACSA is helping providers nurture a culture of open reporting of abuse. Staff must be trained to recognise signs and symptoms of abuse and report abuse or suspected abuse. All those working in aged care must be ‘observant and report’, including reporting abuse perpetrated by family members,” she said.
“It is also important to remember that a reporting scheme is not the silver bullet that will immediately fix all our problems. Helping providers prevent incidents and supporting victims and survivors of assault is also integral to the management of serious incidents.
“This requires consideration from individual providers as well as government and regulators to ensure the system is as safe as it can be and able to respond appropriately if incidents occur.”
ACSA provided a submission on the Serious Incident Response Scheme to the Australian Government, which can be read here.