New Zealand Needs To Invest In Elder Abuse Education And Prevention

Elder abuse awareness funding needed

Age Concern New Zealand are calling for funding to be invested its vital elder abuse prevention and education programmes which complement the Governments Elder Abuse Response Service (EARS).

“The Elder Abuse Response Service is great for supporting the victims of elder abuse, but we need this same investment in education and prevention of elder abuse, says Stephanie Clare, Chief Executive at Age Concern New Zealand.

“We need to support our EARS workforce with professional development and supervision and educate New Zealanders to prevent this horrific abuse happening in our families and communities across Aotearoa.

“This work is in Age Concern New Zealand’s DNA, we wrote the manual on best practice for elder abuse neglect and prevention services, but we need to have some certainty around funding, says Stephanie.

“Age Concern New Zealand has funded this work and the salary for our National Educator with fundraising initiatives since government funding was cut for a national coordination role in 2017. We would like to see this investment reinstated.

“We are called on more and more to provide our expertise in legislation, policy, workforce support, and prevention education. Most recently we have contributed on submissions, legislation and policy guidelines that advocate for the right’s older adults for the banking and telecommunications sectors, Police and Community Law, MSD, Ministry of Justice, The Abuse in Care Royal Commission, Joint Venture for Family Violence and Sexual Violence, Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction and on the End of Life Choice and Palliative Care Committee.

“We are experts in this field, we are still doing the work, but we need to get funding to make sure our workforce gets the support they need and to educate our communities to spot the signs to prevent this often-hidden abuse from happening, says Stephanie.

“As a country we have an appalling track record keeping older people safe from elder abuse and that leaves a horrific impact on older adult’s lives, she says.

“Our work in this area shows 79% of alleged abusers were family members, of which 56% were adult children or grandchildren.

“We want to make sure everyone knows they have a duty to protect the rights of older people to make their own decisions and choices and prevent elder abuse. But many of us do not, especially with our own family members.

“This investment would help Age Concern New Zealand change these appalling facts for many older people.”

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