Seniors and Ageing Minister Mick Murray has called on the Federal Government to properly fund the National Plan for Elder Abuse instead of shifting responsibility for costs to Western Australia’s already-stretched local service providers.
The Federal Government today announced a new national hotline for elderly Australians to seek help for elder abuse – but said all calls would still be directed to WA’s strained local support services, without any extra funding support.
The WA Elder Abuse Helpline – run by Advocare and funded by the State Government – already expects at least 1,000 calls this financial year and need more resources if they are to manage the increased caseloads this announcement will attract.
The WA Government played a leading role in developing the National Plan, holding the co-chair role in its drafting alongside the Federal Government – but knows more funding is required to properly prosecute the five priorities it helped identify.
The State Government welcomes the new $18 million national funding pool for trial service programs – but awaits detail of what share of funding WA will receive and how it will be delivered on the ground.
As noted by Seniors and Ageing Minister Mick Murray:
“Every time awareness of elder abuse is raised in the community or media, local support services such as Advocare receive a spike in victims seeking help.
“Raising the profile of the issue without additional funding will mean local services will not be able to assist all those who need help. We don’t want people who finally summon the courage to reach out to a support service to then be turned away.
“Our service providers do a terrific job in difficult circumstances and I call on the Federal Government to properly fund the WA Elder Abuse Helpline.
“The trial service programs announced for Mandurah and the Kimberley are positive but we need more detail on what that funding will deliver on the ground, and how WA’s existing service providers will be supported.
“Elder abuse is a complex and emerging issue, where the majority of abuse is in fact carried out by family members, in private, most often for financial gain. The issue is still largely misunderstood – so we also call on the Federal Government to provide dedicated funding support and education.”