News State NSW News Elder abuse victims to be supported under NSW trial

Elder abuse victims to be supported under NSW trial

The NSW government announced a $150,000 trial on Sunday.
The NSW government announced a $150,000 trial on Sunday. Photo: Getty
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Thousands of people suffering elder abuse in New South Wales will be supported under a “groundbreaking” new trial.

Ageing Minister Tanya Davies on Sunday announced $150,000 to pay for caseworkers to assist victims beyond the normal referral service.

They will help co-ordinate police, health, cultural and community services.

“Older people are often reluctant to report their own children or relatives and may not have the means to address these problems on their own,” Ms Davies said in a statement.

“We hope this trial will demonstrate that we can change this.”

The trial, developed from similar programs in the US, Canada and New Zealand, will begin in March at the NSW Elder Abuse Helpline and Resource Unit.

Under the trial, callers will be referred to other agencies and be followed-up on.

More than 7000 calls were made to the hotline between its launch in 2013 and December 2017.

There were 2130 calls to the hotline in 2016-17, up from 1200 in 2013-14.

About 12 per cent of callers to the hotline, operated by Catholic Healthcare Limited, were culturally and linguistically diverse.

The most common forms of elder abuse were psychological and financial abuse, followed by emotional abuse and neglect, according to Ms Davies.

Last year, 58 per cent of calls to the hotline related to psychological abuse, followed by 39 per cent being complaints of financial abuse. Neglect was involved 18 per cent of the time, and physical abuse 17 per cent of the time.

The announcement comes ahead of the National Elder Abuse Conference in Sydney on Monday and Tuesday.

Senior Rights Service said adult children perpetrate two-thirds of elder abuse in Australia.

At least 5 per cent of older people across the country are victims.

Elder abuse is expected to become more common with the rapidly ageing population.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates older people will make up 22 per cent of the Australian population by 2056.

Anyone who witnesses, experiences or suspects elder abuse should call the helpline on 1800 628 221. In an emergency dial triple-0.

-with AAP

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