New figures show the number of reported cases to the Elder Abuse Prevention Unit have increased, following a strong focus on raising awareness and encouraging people to report abuse.
In 2015-16, there were 1550 reported cases of elder abuse in Queensland, a 21 per cent increase from 1282 reported cases the previous financial year.
Seniors Minister Coralee O’Rourke said the Elder Abuse Prevention Unit, funded by the Palaszczuk Government and operated by Uniting Community Care, fielded more than 3,170 calls state-wide last financial year, with close to half reporting elder abuse.
“Elder abuse is one of the most disturbing forms of abuse, and sadly it is often perpetrated by a family member,” Minister O’Rourke said.
“Whether it’s physical, emotional or financial, it’s a form of domestic abuse that is often hard to recognise and can go unreported.
“It is something this Government takes very seriously, and we have implemented a number of measures to raise awareness in the community.
“In May, I stepped up our efforts by launching our new ‘There’s no excuse for elder abuse’ campaign to raise awareness and encourage friends, family members and neighbours to come forward.
“The campaign is still running in shopping centres, on the back of buses and online to highlight the most common forms of abuse, and the excuses often used by the perpetrators.
“We will not stop our efforts to get the message out that elder abuse of any form will not be tolerated.”
The Palaszczuk Government has demonstrated our commitment to preventing elder abuse by:
- funding $200,000 to Council on the Ageing Queensland for a Peer to Peer initiative to support older people to help prevent elder abuse by having their wishes made clear
- funding $103,000 to the Elder Abuse Prevention Unit to deliver an Ageing Diversely project to prevent elder abuse amongst older people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
- appointing a dedicated Elder Abuse Project Officer attached to Queensland Police’s Domestic, Family Violence and Vulnerable Persons Unit
- funding United Community Care to operate the Elder Abuse Prevention Unit
- continuing the ‘There’s no excuse for elder abuse’ awareness campaign
- progressing the implementation of the recommendations from the Parliamentary Inquiry into the adequacy of existing financial protections for Queensland’s seniors
- additional funding of $900,000 per annum over three years from 2017-18 to Seniors Legal and Support Service Centres and the Elder Abuse Prevention Unit to support service delivery
- providing enhanced funding of $100,000 per year for four years to the Seniors Enquiry Line to better protect seniors from consumer scams
- engaging Curtin University to study the characteristics and prevalence of elder abuse.
Anyone can contact the Elder Abuse Prevention unit on 1300 651 192, which is staffed during normal business hours. If an operator cannot answer the call or the call is made outside business hours, callers can leave a voicemail. In an emergency, call 000.