Coalition promises $15m elder abuse plan

The Turnbull government has promised to spend $15 million on combating the problem of elder abuse across Australia.

The coalition has promised to spend $15 million on a national strategy to stop elder abuse.

Attorney-General George Brandis made the announcement to coincide with Elder Abuse Awareness Day, saying the money would be spent on a prevalence study, national campaign, setting up a hotline and staff training.

Elder abuse is a human rights issue, he told a National Seniors Australia (NSA) forum south of Brisbane on Wednesday.

"I am appalled at the accounts of mistreatment, neglect and, in some cases, even physical and sexual abuse of older people."

The problem, which also involved financial abuse, was underappreciated in Australia, Senator Brandis said.

"Far too often, the problem of elder abuse has been a silent problem because the people who are the victims of it are vulnerable and voiceless and often don't know where to turn," he added.

"Sadly, it is true that the perpetrators of the abuse are younger members of their own families."

Senator Brandis called for a national conversation about elder abuse, similar to recent dialogues about domestic and family violence.

NSA founder and former chair Everald Compton said it was a growing problem and recalled recent meetings with two Woodridge women whose families wanted their inheritance before they died.

"They were forced out of their homes," he said.

"Their homes were sold, the families agreed to look after them, then decided not to and they're now homeless.

"That's the sort of elder abuse that's happening."

Michael O'Neill, the current NSA chairman, agreed the issue had been swept under the carpet for too long.

"The upside for older Australians is they are major contributors to the community, to the economy," he said.

"They deserve, at that time in their life, respect from their families and society."

Mr O'Neill welcomed the coalition promises but also wanted more detail about how the measures would be implemented.

2 min read
Published 15 June 2016 at 6:24pm
Source: AAP