World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2020

Attorney-General

Minister for Industrial Relations

Leader of the House

The Hon. Christian Porter MP

Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians

Minister for Youth and Sport

Senator the Hon. Richard Colbeck

Joint media release

The Morrison Government is committed to ending the abuse of Australia’s seniors in all its forms.

Coinciding with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, a new awareness campaign has today been launched to highlight the issue and assist those experiencing physical, emotional and financial abuse to get help.

The one-minute video titled ‘Elder Abuse: Everyone’s Business’, was developed by the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department and builds on the many existing initiatives the Government is delivering through the National Plan to Respond to the Abuse of Older Australians.

‘Elder abuse is everyone’s business and its incumbent on all of us to speak up if we witness or suspect it is occurring to someone we know or love,’ Attorney-General Christian Porter said.

‘The video also highlights the many avenues of support that are available to those experiencing abuse, including the COMPASS website and 1800 ELDERHelp line, which has provided direct assistance to more than 500 individuals since its launch late last year.’

Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck said there had never been a more important time to raise awareness about this important issue.

It follows the Federal Government announcement it would implement a Serious Incident Response Scheme to protect vulnerable and senior Australians from abuse and neglect.

The initial $23 million investment, announced yesterday, will be rolled out from July 1, 2021.

‘The Federal Government continues to take important steps towards the ongoing protection and welfare of vulnerable and senior Australians,’ Minister Colbeck said.

‘Any abuse of a care recipient is unacceptable and that is why we committed to implementing a Serious Incident Response Scheme for residential aged care in the 2019-20 Budget.

‘These are significant steps forward but we know there is still work to do – as revealed by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s interim report.’

Minister Colbeck said efforts to strengthen the protections of senior Australians in aged care continued with the monitoring of the quality standards through the independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

The Government also funds the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) to provide free, confidential and independent advocacy support to older people and their representatives receiving, or seeking to receive, Government-funded aged care services.

OPAN will also continue elder abuse prevention as part of their aged care advocacy services.

The Federal Government remains committed to working with States and Territories to consider reforms to enduring power of attorney laws, and will consider the issue of registration of enduring instruments when the Council of Attorneys-General meets next month.

‘Improved safeguards around the use of enduring powers was a key recommendation of the Australian Law Reform Committee’s 2017 elder abuse report, and the government supports ongoing discussion in this important area’, the Attorney-General said.

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