Call to all Western Australians to help stop elder abuse

  • ​Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
  • Due to COVID-19 older Western Australians could be more at-risk
  • Perth landmarks will be lit up in purple, the symbolic colour of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
  • Seniors and Ageing Minister Mick Murray has used World Elder Abuse Awareness Day to call on all Western Australians to commit to preventing elder abuse.

    World Elder Abuse Awareness Day provides an opportunity to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect. It also represents an important opportunity to reinforce the immense value of older people to our community.

    Elder abuse affects many older Western Australians and may involve financial, social, physical, sexual, psychological and emotional abuse.

    In many cases elder abuse occurs ‘out of sight’, so evidence regarding its prevalence in Australia varies, though studies indicate that is likely that between 2 per cent and 14 per cent of older Australians experience elder abuse in any given year, with the prevalence of neglect possibly higher.

    With the recent requirements for isolation and for social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some older Western Australians may be more at risk of experiencing some form of elder abuse.

    As part of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Optus Stadium, Yagan Square, the Bell Tower, Elizabeth Quay and Council House will be lit up in purple – the symbolic colour of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

    As stated by Seniors and Ageing Minister Mick Murray:

    “Elder abuse is a significant issue in our community, and we all have a responsibility to raise awareness and prevent it.  

    “Elder abuse involves the abuse of an older person by someone in a relationship of trust. This abuse can be financial, psychological, physical, sexual or by neglect. 

    “It affects Western Australians of all backgrounds, with devastating effects on victims, their families and communities.

    “Our population is ageing and as the number of older people increases, the incidence of elder abuse is also likely to increase.

    “Older people may also be at a greater risk of elder abuse during COVID-19 due to potential impacts of physical isolation, particularly in regional communities.

    “The State Government last year launched WA’s first elder abuse prevention strategy, which outlined a series of support, education and awareness measures to combat this growing issue.

    “Some groups, such as older Aboriginal people, people with disability and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, may be at higher risk of experiencing elder abuse and may be less likely or able to seek help.”

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