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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2019: AASW renews call for a significant investment in aged care workforce

Published: 14 June 2019

Stopping elder abuse requires immediate action, said AASW National President Christine Craik on the eve of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and this starts with adequate resourcing and training the aged care workforce to be able to better identify the dynamics, attitudes and behaviours that lead to elder abuse.

Elder abuse is a crime and it is important that the aged care sector is able to recognise its many forms, including emotional and financial abuse. The AASW will raise these points in its submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, as social workers every day across Australia work to prevent, identify and stop elder abuse.

Ms Craik said, “Our members have raised significant concerns about the general lack of respect that we are seeing shown to older people in our society and therefore any intervention needs a whole-of-society approach.

“While the Royal Commission is concentrating on the aged care sector specifically, it is important to remember that elder abuse occurs throughout the community, including within people’s homes.”

The United Nations estimates that globally, one in six elderly people have experienced abuse. Elder abuse is a contravention of human rights and has significant impacts on mental, physical and emotional health.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day occurs each year to highlight this important issue.

Ms Craik said, “The National Plan to Respond to the Abuse of Older Australians and the Royal Commission have started the important work of system reform, including raising awareness, increasing accountability, building the workforce and strengthening support services. These are all welcome steps.

“However, more resourcing and the quality of that resourcing of the sector is essential in ultimately addressing issues within the aged care sector, which the Royal Commission is currently uncovering.

“Two in three people receiving aged care services are women and it is important that we recognise the gendered dimension of elder abuse as a form of family violence. Women of this generation, in addition to generally living slightly longer than men, have also often lived a life of giving to others, which can mean they have less material wealth, making them more dependent on others and less likely to feel empowered to do anything about abuse directed at them.

“The Royal Commission is revealing the need for a highly resourced, trained and regulated workforce, as well as a more accountable and robust aged care sector.”

ENDS

Christine Craik is available for interview.

Media contact
Angela Yin
Communications Lead
P 03 9320 1005 M 0413 532 954

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers