Later life is supposed to be a time when our most respected citizens can enjoy their years, but for around one in 20 older Victorians it becomes a nightmare when they are subjected to elder abuse.
Elder abuse does not have to be physical - for many victims it is financial exploitation, psychological abuse or neglect by their children, spouse or others in positions of trust.
The Victorian Government has already committed more than $1.2 million this financial year to tackle elder abuse, as part of its response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
On Friday 2 December 2016, as part of the Victoria Against Violence campaign, the Government announced that Victoria’s Commissioner for Senior Victorians Gerard Mansour has had his role expanded to include becoming an ambassador for the prevention of elder abuse.
The announcement took place at an event on the Mornington Peninsula to recognise the work of the local community in preventing elder abuse.
Funding was also announced to enable the Commissioner to work with the Office of the Public Advocate and other relevant agencies to develop a “tips and hints” resource for older people to make informed decisions about the use of Powers of Attorney.
Commissioner Mansour said one of his priorities as Ambassador would be to work on prevention of elder abuse, and the best way to do that is to get the issue out in the open.
“The sad thing is that many elder Victorians suffering abuse do so in silence, or even fail to acknowledge to themselves they are victims.
“My role will be not only to increase the awareness of older Victorians to elder abuse and the help that is available, but also to educate the wider community so they can identify abuse and take action."
The announcement on Friday 2 December also detailed that $1 million allocated in the 2016-17 State Budget to tackle elder abuse will used for targeted initiatives to support local communities through empowering older people, deterring abusers, and influencing bystanders.