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There's no excuse for abuse – World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2021

Media Release

Attorney-General
Minister for Industrial Relations
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for Western Australia
Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services
Minister for Sport
Senator for Tasmania
Senator the Hon. Richard Colbeck

Joint media release

The Morrison Government is committed to protecting the health and wellbeing of older Australians and keeping them safe from elder abuse.

The abuse of older Australians is a complex health and social problem that can have devastating physical, emotional and social consequences for older people, their families and their communities.

Coinciding with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, a national elder abuse awareness campaign has been launched to highlight this significant social issue and assist those who are at risk of experiencing elder abuse to take action and seek support, by calling 1800ELDERHelp and accessing the elder abuse knowledge hub Compass.info.

“We know elder abuse occurs, yet many people are afraid to report it, are not aware of it, or cannot identify it,” the Attorney-General, Michaelia Cash said.

“We want older Australians to know there is help available, you have the right to live free from elder abuse.”

The Government funds a range of front-line service providers across all states and territories to combat elder abuse. These include:

  • specialist elder abuse units, where lawyers, social workers and other specialist support staff work side-by-side with clients to develop a case plan to respond to the individual’s needs
  • case management and mediation services, that work with the older person and their family to find solutions to the underlying problems driving abuse and
  • health-justice partnership services, where older people identified by health care workers such as yourselves as being at risk can access specialist legal support services.

Information on how to seek assistance from these and other service providers can be found on the Compass.info website or by calling 1800ELDERHelp.

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 launched a new online training package for health and allied health professionals, on 9 June, as part of a new approach to preventing the abuse of older Australians. 

“Australia’s health and allied health professionals provide essential services to older Australians. They are on the front line, and as trusted advisors to older Australians it is vital they are trained to spot the signs of elder abuse and have the appropriate tools and information and they need to act,” Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services Richard Colbeck said.

“Training health professionals is another safeguard the government has introduced to protect older Australians.”

As part of the government’s commitment to ensuring the safety of older Australians, public consultation is currently underway on possible arrangements for a National Register of Enduring Powers of Attorney.

Consultation on a National Register will be open until 30 June, and the outcomes will be used to develop and inform a final proposal for the consideration of Attorneys-General from each jurisdiction.

See a short video about elder abuse and further information via the Attorney General’s Department.

More information about World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is available on the United Nations website.