Wednesday 15 June 2016
There is no excuse for abuse
Too many Australians living with dementia or cognitive impairment are experiencing elder abuse, more commonly financial abuse, often perpetrated by those close to them.
Alzheimer’s Australia welcomes greater scrutiny of elder abuse including the proposed national inquiry.
Today, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 15 June 2016, the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has also released an issues paper on elder abuse and called for submissions from people who are living with dementia, those who work with and care for them who may have experienced or witnessed elder abuse.
The release of the ALRC paper follows the announcement of the national inquiry by Federal Attorney General George Brandis in February this year.
Alzheimer’s Australia CEO Carol Bennett said there are more than 353,800 people currently living with dementia and this is expected to rise to almost 900,000 people by 20501. Sadly, what this means is that more Australians are going to be susceptible to forms of abuse.
“With the increase in dementia, it is imperative there are national safeguards in place to protect from all forms of abuse be that financial, physical, sexual or psychological,” Ms Bennett said.
“We know that people living with dementia or cognitive impairment are at greater risk of being taken advantage of which is why a national inquiry to ensure their protection is so vital.
“It is also important to remember many forms of abuse, including financial abuse are illegal. If people have been subject to abuse or if you suspect abuse of an older person it is important to document your suspicions and seek help from the police or appropriate authorities in your State or Territory.”
The ALRC discussion paper is available here.
A discussion paper on Preventing Financial Abuse of People with Dementia was released by Alzheimer’s Australia NSW with funding from the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW in June 2014 and a free Q&A sheet funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services is available on Dementia Australia’s website.
1 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012) Dementia in Australia