ELDER ABUSE MUST EMERGE FROM THE SHADOWS

This year on average two people have died every week as a result of domestic violence. This is unacceptable.

Domestic violence affects people of every faith, every age, every tradition, and every culture.

Last Monday I was warmed to see purple splashed around the nation for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, highlighting a form of domestic violence that until recently has barely been recognised in public discussions.

It’s time we stand up for the most vulnerable people in our community to bring elder abuse out from behind closed doors to say “NO”.

This year on average two people have died every week as a result of domestic violence. This is unacceptable.

Domestic violence affects people of every faith, every age, every tradition, and every culture.

Last Monday I was warmed to see purple splashed around the nation for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, highlighting a form of domestic violence that until recently has barely been recognised in public discussions.

Elder abuse is a form of domestic violence and can be physical, sexual, financial, psychological, social or neglectful, and usually occurs at the hands of someone trusted such as family or friends.

Elder financial abuse is something that really concerns me because it covers such a broad range of misconduct surrounding the illegal and improper use of an elderly person’s money, resources or property.

Older Australians are increasingly vulnerable to financial abuse due to the loss of their ability to manage financial affairs, and their reliance on a person of trust to act in their best interests.

As our population ages, the number of people affected by elder abuse will increase and only a changed attitude towards our aged population will stop this.

The days of pulling down the blinds and turning a blind eye must come to an end.

It’s time we stand up for the most vulnerable people in our community to bring elder abuse out from behind closed doors to say “NO”.

Whilst it is great to see the nation use days like World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2015 to raise awareness for the mistreatment of older people in Australia, we need action.

‘Awareness’ is fundamental to change but it is ‘action’ that will stop all forms of domestic violence in its tracks.

Labor will always stand up for the most vulnerable and will not stop at anything less than a 100% effort in the fight against domestic violence.

We will continue to offer bipartisan support to the Government to address and drive action on this serious issue, including the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (2010-2022) which Labor started when in office as the first national strategy to address family and domestic violence.

Labor has called on the Prime Minister to hold a National Crisis Summit on Family Violence to accelerate national efforts and hear the voices of governments, stakeholders, service providers as well as victims and survivors, and announced a $70 million interim package of measures to make sure women get the legal support they need and can access critical services.

This includes:

  • Almost $50 million to legal services, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services to ensure women suffering from family violence have appropriate legal support;
  • Initial investment of $15 million in Safe at Home grants to help people affected by family violence stay safe in their own home; and
  • An investment of $8 million to improve perpetrator accountability, tracking and diversion strategies to prevent violence.

For too long, this issue has been put in the too hard basket.

As long as domestic violence affects any one of us – it affects all of us.