Queensland says ‘there’s no excuse for elder abuse’

THE Palaszczuk Government has stepped up the fight against elder abuse, launching a new campaign today to target the growing issue in Queensland.  

Seniors Minister Coralee O'Rourke said the campaign 'There's no excuse for elder abuse' was being launched in the lead up to World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, to create awareness around this unacceptable behaviour and ways it could be addressed.  

"Sadly, older people can be vulnerable to abuse, with more than 1350 new elder abuse notifications in Queensland in 2015 - up from around 1280 in the previous year," Mrs O'Rourke said.  

"The increase in reported incidents of abuse shows that more people are coming forward, but we know many cases go unreported.  

"That is why we have stepped up the fight against Elder Abuse and are encouraging family members, friends, neighbours and members of the community to come forward.  

"Research shows many cases have been committed by a family member, with the most common offences being physical or emotional intimidation, financial abuse such as bank skimming, and transfer of assets.  

"This campaign makes it absolutely clear there is never an excuse for elder abuse, by highlighting the types of excuses perpetrators commonly use and what actions the community can take to prevent it.  

"It was developed after a key recommendation from the landmark Not Now, Now Ever report highlighted the growing need for government to step up the fight against elder abuse.  

"Throughout June, this important campaign will be promoted in shopping centres, licensed venues and medical centres, on buses, and via digital and social media advertising - to ensure everyone sees the message.  

"Older people are valuable members of our communities, and our Government will not tolerate any form of elder abuse."  

Seniors services, non-government organisations, councils, libraries, hospitals and more will receive posters and helpcards to raise awareness of elder abuse among their clients and connect them to the range of supports and services across the state.  

Police Minister Bill Byrne said seniors would now be better protected thanks to a specialist police officer appointed to help prevent the growing crime.  

"I welcome the appointment of A/Senior Sergeant Kerry McKay, who has been selected as the Elder Abuse Project Officer attached to Queensland Police's Domestic, Family Violence and Vulnerable Persons Unit," Mr Byrne said.  

"A/Senior Sergeant McKay will work with partner agencies including the government-funded Elder Abuse Prevention Unit to promote initiatives to address elder abuse in the community.  

"Through our new campaign and a dedicated police officer, we will help work together to make sure older people in our communities are less susceptible to elder abuse."  

Les Jackson, coordinator of the Queensland Government-funded UnitingCare Community Elder Abuse Prevention Unit, welcomed the campaign and said the public needed to be more aware that elder abuse was inexcusable in any form.  

"Older Queenslanders deserve the right to live without fear of being abused financially, physically, psychologically, sexually or by neglect," Mr Jackson said.  

"People who are concerned that an elderly person is being abused and in need of assistance can call the Elder Abuse helpline on 1300 651 192."  

For more information about the campaign, visit www.qld.gov.au/noexcuseforelderabuse

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