Queensland strengthens its fight against elder abuse

The Palaszczuk Government continues to strengthen its resolve against elder abuse with the launch on June 15 of an awareness and prevention campaign to call out perpetrators and connect Queenslanders to support and advice services.

Minister for Seniors Coralee O’Rourke highlighted how unacceptable elder abuse was at the launch of the ‘there’s no excuse for elder abuse’ campaign for 2018, at Parliament House in Brisbane on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

“Sadly, many common forms of elder abuse are quite subtle and hard to detect,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

“And because it is usually close family members who are the abusers, elder abuse is often hidden away and people are not willing to talk about it.

“It’s time for that to change and to ensure we have thriving Queensland communities free of elder abuse.”

Throughout June, our Elder Abuse awareness campaign will be promoted in newspapers, shopping centres, medical centres, on buses, and via radio, digital and social media advertising.

“This includes popular landmarks such as Parliament House, Story Bridge, Wheel of Brisbane and Treasury Casino to be lit up in purple to further raise community awareness about elder abuse.

“I’d like to get the message out there that there is no excuse for elder abuse at any time.”

Mrs O’Rourke said the Palaszczuk Government had expanded its seniors legal and support services to Gladstone, Rockhampton, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Mackay to further address this serious community issue.

“Funding of $900,000 per year of the State Budget has been allocated to establish and operate the five new services,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

“These services will be in addition to the elder abuse prevention services already offered in Toowoomba, Brisbane, Hervey Bay, Cairns and Townsville.”

Ian Law, Chief Executive Officer, Relationships Australia said the new services would provide assistance to access individualised supports and referrals to those at risk of or currently experiencing elder abuse.

“If you need help we have regionally located services you can get in touch with to provide customised support and advice in your time of need,” he said.

Over the next three years the Government will also invest an extra $400,000 per year to provide financial protection advice through all the seniors legal and support services across the state.

Mrs O’Rourke said there had been more than 1600 abuse notifications made to the Elder Abuse Prevention Unit Helpline in 2016/17, which is an increase of seven per cent on the previous financial year.

“Financial abuse continues to be the most commonly reported primary abuse type at around 65 per cent, followed by psychological abuse at close to 59 per cent,” she said.

“This is unacceptable and highlights why our campaign is so important.

“If your rights are being abused, it’s wrong. You do not have to tolerate this behaviour. There is help available and ways you can protect yourself.”

People who are concerned that an elderly person is being abused and in need of assistance can call the Elder Abuse helpline on 1300 651 192.

For more information about elder abuse and the campaign, visit: www.qld.gov.au/noexcuseforelderabuse

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