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Human Rights Commission warns elder abuse is on the rise during COVID-19 pandemic

Iris hemorrhage and a large bruise around the eye area on mature adult Source: iStockphoto

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."

To hear the full report click on the audio link above.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Find out what restrictions are in place for your state or territory.

Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.
The federal government's coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone's app store.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at http://www.sbs.com.au/coronavirus

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