Family Community & Development Committee: Opportunities for Participation from Victorian Seniors
Written on the 29 August 2012
As I said when I tabled this report during the last sitting week, I am pleased to rise to speak on the Family and Community Development Committee's report entitled Inquiry into Opportunities for Participation of Victorian Seniors.
That was part of the evidence given to the committee by State Trustees, and the incidence of abuse in terms of financial elder abuse is, as I said, quite alarming. This is due to it often being hidden in nature. It is difficult to get a sense of the numbers involved, as highlighted on page 106 of the report. In research that was undertaken it was found that up to 5 per cent of Australians aged over 65 have experienced it and that older women over the age of 60 are more at risk. It is not only those two cohorts but also different groups within our community are at risk of elder abuse.
Most cases are perpetrated by close family members. As a result it is a very silent crime, and one kept very much in the confines of the family.
I was pleased that during the course of the inquiry the government put out some guidelines entitled Elder Abuse Prevention and Response Guidelines for Action 2012-14. That has been prepared in conjunction with a number of people. The advisory group was put together, and it comprised representatives from the health, legal, finance and community sectors. It was chaired by Nick Wakeling, the member for Ferntree Gully in the other place. This document outlines some practical guidelines and also highlights this very alarming rise in elder abuse.
One of the recommendations or findings of the committee was that there is a greater risk of abuse, and one of the recommendations of the committee was that the government work with various groups and implement a campaign to raise awareness of elder abuse and how it can be prevented. As I said at the outset, it was a very interesting inquiry. It raised many issues that I think we should all be aware of, but the effects of elder abuse that are spreading throughout our community and are identified as a silent crime need to be noted.