Respect Victoria re-launches Respect Older People: Call it out! a landmark elder abuse prevention campaign.
1 October marks the United Nations International Day of Older Persons and this year Respect Victoria took the opportunity to relaunch their campaign, and called on community members to connect with older people - friends, relatives, and neighbours - to prevent elder abuse.
Visit the Respect Victoria website to learn more about the campaign: https://www.respectvictoria.vic.gov.au/campaigns/respect-older-people-call-it-out
Over my time as Commissioner, older people have shared with me their stories about how devastated they have been by elder abuse.
Research shows that the overwhelming majoring of elder abuse is perpetrated by a family member, and that psychological and financial abuse are the most common forms of abuse experienced by older people in Victoria.
We all know that this conduct has no place in our society. The key to stopping it is respect – respect across the generations for the sacrifice and contribution that seniors have made in building the lifestyle that many enjoy today.
Respect Victoria CEO Tracey Gaudry has identified that 'for some older people, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to unique challenges: increased isolation, adult children moving home or seeking financial support, and an amplification of perceived vulnerability'.
'Ageism is a significant driver of elder abuse, and as a society we must call it out early and respect the needs, experiences and contribution of older people in Victoria. The language that we use about older people and the stories that we tell must be respectful, and not marginalise or remove people’s agency,' said Ms Gaudry.
For World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2020, we hosted a webinar in partnership with Seniors Rights Victoria, addressing the need to prevent and respond to elder abuse, particularly during and post the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The webinar included addresses from the Hon. Luke Donnellan MP, Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, the Hon. Gabrielle Williams MP, Minister for Prevention of Family Violence, as well as a keynote presentation by Professor Joseph Ibrahim (MBBS, GradCHE, PhD, FAFPHM, FRACP), followed by a panel discussion and questions.
You can watch the recording of the webinar on the Health.vic. website
And remember - it is up to all of us as individuals and as a community to call out ageist attitudes and elder abuse.
If you or anyone you know needs more information on elder abuse, please contact any of the following organisations:
Seniors Rights Victoria
Seniors Rights Victoria provides information, support, advice and education to help prevent elder abuse and safeguard the rights, dignity and independence of older people. For more information on Seniors Rights Victoria phone 1300 368 821 or visit the Senior Rights Victoria website: https://seniorsrights.org.au/
1800 Respect is a national hotline operated by trained counselors. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to support people impacted by family violence, please call 1800 737 732. Visit the 1800 Respect website: https://www.1800respect.org.au/
Or visit the Respect Victoria website: https://www.respectvictoria.vic.gov.au/
Commissioner for Senior Victorians
Gerard Mansour is a passionate advocate for the rights and needs of older Victorians, with more than 25 years’ experience working in the aged and wider community service sectors. He has contributed significantly to policy development and implementation of services assisting senior Victorians.