Coronavirus-related challenges have added another layer of risk to this often-overlooked human rights violation of elderly citizens. This abuse could be physical, psychological, or even financial.
Elder abuse often happens within the family unit, and often goes unreported because elderly people don't want to upset the family dynamic. Chief Executive Officer of Eastern Community Legal Centre, Michael Smith explains:
"I think where there's a power imbalance and where people feel like they can take advantage of their parents or their grandparents or their uncles and aunties, some people would do that. Older people often find it really difficult to make choices around that because they don't want to call the police or report their children and they want to keep relationships with their children so the abuse is really problematic to manage."
But Age Discrimination Commissioner Dr Kay Patterson says everybody can do their bit, to spread awareness.
"Librarians and local councils have been encouraging librarians to ring their older readers to see if they're ok. A lot of members of parliament are using their staff to ring their older constituents to see if they're ok. we can all ring older people to make sure that they're ok. As the campaign that we're launching is talking about we need to open our eyes, everybody needs to open their eyes... local, states, federal governments and the community. It's a whole-of-community response."
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