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AASW strongly supports national strategy to stop elder abuse

Published: 22 February 2018

The AASW welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement of its intention to develop a national plan for the prevention of elder abuse, and commitment to finally stop the devastating impacts that it has on the lives of so many.

AASW National President Christine Craik said, “Elder abuse is a complex issue and the aged care system as a whole requires policies that have a much greater appreciation of the dynamics and circumstances that contribute to its existence.”

The AASW highlighted in its recent submission to the Federal Government’s Inquiry into the Quality of Care in Residential Aged Care Facilities in Australia that a national strategy is needed to focus on raising awareness, improving research and better access to qualified professionals.

Ms Craik said, “As with child abuse and family violence, elder abuse is primarily about power and control and it needs to be acknowledged that it can be perpetrated within quite different types of 'relationships of trust', including family members or friends, paid service providers/care workers.

“We welcome the fact that the plan will cover physical, emotional and financial abuse.

“The common perception in the community is that elder abuse is predominantly physical, whereas statistics show that financial abuse is actually one of the more common forms, perpetrated mainly by the older person’s adult children and grandchildren.

“To stop elder abuse, we need to be able to recognise it and that is why we need highly skilled and knowledgeable professionals who can identify it and intervene.

“As the Senate inquiry into Oakden nursing home in South Australia identified, the aged care system desperately needs greater involvement from allied health professionals, including social workers.

“Older Australians continue to be denied key supports. For example, residents of aged care facilities are excluded from accessing Medicare-funded mental health supports.

“Addressing elder abuse requires a comprehensive and coordinated strategy, which also looks at increasing support for carers. We look forward to working with the Government in the development and implementation of this plan.”

You can read the submissions to the Inquiry here.

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

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers