The recently established Royal Commission into Elder Abuse will examine all the different forms of abuse, including: psychological or emotional abuse; financial abuse; undue influence; neglect or acts of omission; physical abuse; restraints and restricted practices; and sexual abuse.
Interchange Australia consultants attended an aged care exhibition in Goulburn on May 2 where Chief Inspector John Sheehan from the NSW Police provided an update on elder abuse in Australia.
Chief Inspector Sheehan stated that between four to six percent of older Australians experience some form of elder abuse, and that there had been an increase in cases involving social and chemical abuse. Some examples of social abuse include:
- Moving the person far away from friends and family members
- Preventing the person from using the phone or monitoring their calls
- Stopping the person from socialising with friends or neighbours
- Implying that friends and/or family are interfering
Some examples of chemical abuse include:
- Administering medication to the person that exceeds the recommended dosage
- Providing the person with alcohol, poison or other medications
- Withholding prescribed medications
Research shows that elder abuse is under-reported and is often hidden or covered-up. Sons and daughters are the most likely abusers with sons responsible for 29 percent of reported abuse and daughters 24 percent.
In December last year, premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that an Ageing and Disability Commissioner will be appointed to investigate and stop abuse of older people and people with disability at home and in the community from July 1.
New specialist elder abuse officers will also be introduced in each NSW Police Command to undertake elder abuse investigations and to report these cases to the Commissioner.
If you are a victim of elder abuse or would like to report abuse, please contact the the Elder Abuse Hotline on 1800 628 221.
For more information about the Ageing and Disability Commissioner, please visit the Family and Communications Services website: https://www.facs.nsw.gov.au/inclusion/disability/ageing-and-disability-commissioner