Tasmanian Elder Abuse Prevention Helpline Launched Mon 27 August 2012 Cassy O'Connor Minister for Human Services Download hi-res version The Minister for Human Services, Cassy O'Connor, today launched the Tasmanian Elder Abuse Helpline to help protect the rights and dignity of some of Tasmania's most vulnerable citizens. Ms O'Connor said the helpline would provide Tasmanians with confidential advice and information on dealing with and preventing elder abuse. "The helpline is key to the Government's Elder Abuse Prevention Strategy and will help older people, and their family and friends make informed decisions about suspected elder abuse," Ms O'Connor said. "I encourage anyone concerned about a suspected elder abuse situation to contact the helpline for advice." It is estimated up to 4200 older Tasmanians suffer physical, emotional verbal or financial abuse at the hands of someone close to them. The helpline is run by Advocacy Tasmania and operates 9am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. The State Government has given Advocacy Tasmania $120,000 to operate the service for 12 months. Advocacy Tasmania CEO Ken Hardaker said he believed with Tasmania's ageing population that elder abuse was on the rise. "Advocacy Tasmania is therefore very pleased to be playing an important role in the Tasmanian strategy to address this growing social problem, which affects many of our older citizens," Mr Hardaker said. Elder abuse can take many forms, and includes the misuse of older people's funds, physical abuse and emotional deprivation or manipulation. Ms O'Connor said elder abuse was usually carried out by someone close to the older person such as family and friends who they trust. "Whatever form it takes, elder abuse is simply unacceptable and we need to work together as a community to combat it." The Tasmanian Government will also fund an Elder Abuse Community Awareness Campaign to run in conjunction with the Helpline. The Secretary of DHHS has released to all agency staff the Policy Guidelines on responding to suspected Elder Abuse, and staff are required to comply with this policy, its principles and procedures. The Attorney-General, Mr Wightman, is preparing amendments to the Powers of Attorney Act 2000-, and the Guardianship and Administration Act 1995 to strengthen the protection for older Tasmanians. There will also commence later this year, a state-wide service provider training on Elder Abuse for all government and non-government services providers that work with older people Ms O'Connor said the helpline will collect data on elder abuse in Tasmania to inform the Government's ongoing elder abuse prevention efforts. For further information on the Government's Elder Abuse Prevention Strategy, visit www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/elderabuse. Contact the Tasmanian Elder Abuse Helpline on 1800 441 169.