This Sunday is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – a chance to draw attention to this critical issue which affects millions of people around the world.
The Liberal Government is committed to ensuring that vulnerable Tasmanians are empowered and treated with the respect they deserve.
Considerable work has been done under the Elder Abuse Prevention Strategy in Tasmania, with a 'Helpline' service, the 'Elder Abuse Is Not Okay' community awareness campaign, and the establishment of Inter-Agency Networks across the North, North-West and Southern areas of Tasmania.
The Department of Health & Human Services held a forum on Friday to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
Associate Head of the Law School at the University of South Australia, Professor Wendy Lacey, was the keynote speaker. The event also included several local speakers who talked about Tasmania's Elder Abuse Prevention Strategy.
Also on Friday I launched an Elder Abuse Awareness Fact Sheet which provides an overview of what elder abuse is and the sources of information and support available in Tasmania, both for older Tasmanians and for professionals.
This fact sheet has been translated into 16 languages and is available from the Government's Elder Abuse Prevention website, Advocacy Tasmania's website and the Migrant Resource Centre Tasmania site.
In the first two years of the helpline, 336 cases of elder abuse were reported. Seventy per cent of calls to the helpline were in relation to older women, 47 per cent of calls were in relation to a person aged 80 or above, and 77.2 per cent of calls cited psychological/emotional abuse – which was often identified together with financial abuse.
These statistics show that elder abuse is a problem in our community. It is critical that Tasmanians continue to speak up about elder abuse.