Queenslanders are being encouraged to recognise the signs of elder abuse and seek help over the Christmas period.
Minister for Seniors Craig Crawford said elder abuse – which is most commonly psychological or financial in nature – was sadly more prevalent with families coming together over the Christmas break.
Mr Crawford encouraged seniors, their families, friends, neighbours or community members to call the Elder Abuse Helpline on 1300 651 192 if they had any concerns.
“Despite the joys of Christmas, it is also a time when elder abuse can become more frequent and more visible,” he said.
“Statistics from our Elder Abuse Prevention Unit show that cases can involve sons, daughters, spouses, partners or grandchildren of victims.
“This means victims often live with or are very close to their perpetrator, making it even more important for Queenslanders to take action if they think someone they know is experiencing, or at risk of, elder abuse.
“The most common types of elder abuse include psychological abuse such as controlling or coercion, and financial abuse such as stealing or controlling money.
“Seniors experiencing abuse may appear withdrawn, worried or anxious, or uninterested in their usual interests.
The Queensland Government provides funding to a range of services to support seniors experiencing elder abuse, including the Elder Abuse Helpline.
Mr Crawford said the government also provides funding for legal and support services for seniors in 11 locations across Queensland including Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Townsville, Cairns, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Toowoomba, Mackay, Hervey Bay and Bundaberg.
“These services provide free legal advice, information and referrals to support services for Queenslanders over the age of 60 who have experienced, or are at risk of experiencing, elder abuse,” he said.
“The seniors legal and support service can help seniors obtain domestic violence protection orders, relocate to a place of safety, get advice on appointing or revoking a power of attorney and advise on recovering property or money lost as a result of elder abuse.
“Financial protection services are embedded within these services, providing free financial advice to seniors on everything from retirement planning and wills to aged care and financial agreements with family or friends.
“While some of these services may be closed over the Christmas break, I encourage Queenslanders experiencing abuse to talk to someone they know or trust about their situation such as their doctor or a family member or friend.
“If you suspect someone you know is experiencing elder abuse, reach out to them and invite them to talk in a place where they are alone and safe and listen to them.”
In the event of an emergency or life-threatening situation, Queenslanders should always call Triple Zero (000).