Welcome pledge to help combat elder abuse

Media Release

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Welcome pledge to help combat elder abuse

Alzheimer’s Australia welcomes the Coalition Government’s announcement that, if re-elected, $15 million would be invested to combat elder abuse.

Today’s announcement by Federal Attorney-General George Brandis includes the establishment of a national elder abuse hotline, training for frontline staff, a study into the prevalence of elder abuse and a national awareness campaign to shift attitudes.

Alzheimer’s Australia National President Professor Graeme Samuel AC said elder abuse is a serious issue and people with dementia are particularly vulnerable.

“Alzheimer’s Australia welcomes measures that sees the rights of people with dementia and older Australians protected,” Professor Samuel said.

“We support comments made today by Senator Brandis that older members of the community should feel safe, cared for and respected. They also should expect to be able to exercise their rights and have their choices respected. We see this announcement today as representing a down payment on the significant effort needed to ensure better care for vulnerable elderly people in Australia, and the protection of their human dignity and independence.”

The announcement coincides with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day June 15 and follows the release of an issues paper on elder abuse by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) calling 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 ALRC issues paper is part of a national inquiry announced by Senator Brandis in February this year.

Alzheimer’s Australia CEO Carol Bennett said with more than 353,800 people currently living with dementia and that figure expected to rise to almost 900,000 people by 20501 more Australians would be susceptible to financial, physical, sexual or psychological abuse.

“We know that people with dementia and cognitive impairment are more likely to experience elder abuse, particularly financial abuse by those close to them in positions of power and trust,” Ms Bennett said.

“Any steps that can be taken to ensure national safeguards are in place that protect the most vulnerable members of our community are welcome.”

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.

The ALRC discussion paper is available here and the Coalition’s announcement can be found here.
 

1 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012) Dementia in Australia

 

 

Media enquiries:
Bianca Armytage | 0407 019 430 | bianca.armytage@dementia.org.au


Alzheimer’s Australia is the peak body representing people with dementia and their families and carers. It provides advocacy, support services, education and information. More than 353,800 people have dementia in Australia. This number is projected to reach more than half a million by 2030.


National Dementia Helpline: 1800 100 500
An interpreter service is available
(The National Dementia Helpline is an Australian Government Initiative)
Dementia is a National Health Priority Area


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