Elder Abuse reports on the rise in Queensland
MORE Queensland Government money is needed to fund the expansion of legal services which are desperately required to deal with the increasing number of reported cases of elder abuse and people seeking legal support.
Over the last five years the numbers in Queensland have risen by 19%.
People aged over 65 are reaching out to community legal centres for a range of reasons, including financial abuse, psychological abuse, neglect and physical abuse, but the support services available are constrained by resources and funds.
Community Legal Centres Queensland director James Farrell said elder abuse was a new wave of violence which was notoriously under-reported.
"It's not clear how prevalent elder abuse is in the community, but as more people become aware of the support services that are available and as the stigma reduces around issues of elder abuse and domestic violence, people are more prepared to seek help and get the support that they need," Mr Farrell said.
The problem in Queensland is that there isn't enough support resources and money to deal with this significant community elder well-being issue.
Seniors legal and support services in Queensland are provided in five centres - Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns, Hervey Bay and Toowoomba.
These community legal centres respond to enquiries from within their communities, but don't have the resources to respond to enquiries from other parts of Queensland.
The alternative for an older person to call the state-wide Elder Abuse Prevention Unit service.
"Because of the particular vulnerabilities of many older people, they need face-to-face help and integrated local services, and that's what is needed across Queensland," Mr Farrell said.
"The Queensland parliamentary enquiry into financial abuse of older people recommended state-wide coverage of those services, so a significant investment is required from the state government," he added.
From July, the Federal Government will cut funding to community legal centres across Australia by 30%.
"Community Legal Centres Queensland is calling on Malcolm Turnbull and George Brandis to reverse this decision to ensure people experiencing elder abuse get the legal help they need and the protection they deserve," Mr Farrell said.
For more information on elder abuse or if you have concerns on this issue, please call Elder Abuse Prevention Unit on 1300 651 192 or go to www.eapu.com.au.