Monday, June 24, 2024

WA Seniors minister calls for action on elder abuse

WA Seniors and Ageing Minister, Don Punch, has called on the Western Australian community to take an active role in preventing and stopping elder abuse.

He made the call on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day today, which provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.

The day also provides a vital opportunity to highlight and reinforce the immense value of older people to our community.

It is estimated up to 49,000 older Western Australians may experience elder abuse in any given year.

“The abuse of elderly people in our community – people who have given so much and continue to give – is completely unacceptable,” said Minister Punch.

‘I urge people to be cognisant of the signs with an elderly relative or friend and help them take action if necessary.

“Data from the WA Elder Abuse Helpline indicates that people are becoming more aware about elder abuse and are increasingly seeking help – with the helpline receiving 1,220 calls in 2019-20, more than double than four years ago.

“The State Government is committed to continue raising this awareness and exploring ways to stop elder abuse, and since the November 2019 launch of the 10-year WA Elder Abuse Strategy, more than $6 million has been committed to initiatives under the strategy.”

As part of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Optus Stadium, Matagarup Bridge, the Bell Tower, Elizabeth Quay, Yagan Square, Council House and Trafalgar Bridge will light up in purple.

The Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre’s Purple Road of hand-stitched flowers, highlighting individual stories relating to elder abuse, will also be on display outside Parliament House.

The WA Government funds a range of services to assist older people experiencing or at risk of elder abuse. These include:

  • Council on the Ageing WA, the vulnerable seniors peak body in Western Australia;
  • Advocare, which operates the WA Elder Abuse Helpline and Information Service; and
  • Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre, which provides the Older People’s Rights Service and the Elder Abuse Peer Education Scheme.

People are encouraged to contact the WA Elder Abuse Helpline and Information Service on 1300 724 679, which provides free confidential information and support, if they or someone they know are at risk of or experiencing elder abuse. Visit the Department of Communities’ website for elder abuse information, support services and resources.

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