Western Australian Seniors who are being coerced into giving money to friends or family now have a dedicated elder abuse helpline on 1300 724 679.
Elder abuse is defined as harm to an older person taking place in an informal relationship of trust, such as with a family member, carer or friend. The abuse may take many forms including financial, emotional, social, physical and sexual abuse, and neglect. Financial abuse is the most common.
Speaking at the National Elder Abuse Conference in Perth, Seniors and Volunteering Minister Tony Simpson said older people who had few friends, family or contact with the community were most at risk.
With statistics showing that between two and five per cent of older people experience elder abuse, Mr Simpson estimated that about 12,500 seniors in WA may be experiencing abuse.
“The emotional toll on these people cannot be overstated,” he said. “Often, they feel too ashamed to tell anyone. And nursing home staff or other family members who suspect abuse have had nowhere to turn, until now.”
The helpline, which is run by Advocare, is available on weekdays from 8.30am to 4.30pm, offering an ‘impartial ear’ for people to share their situation.
The Minister also launched a new publication called ‘Stay connected and be involved’ with tips for older people on how to maintain their social connections to prevent abuse.