Elder Abuse Awareness Week 15-22 June 2019

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Elder Abuse Awareness Week ran from 15-22 June 2019, starting with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on 15 June 2019.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was officially recognised by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2011. This was in response to a request by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, which first started the awareness raising day in June 2006.

Age Concern New Zealand has launched an online Elder Abuse Quiz to help raise awareness about elder abuse. The brief quiz is available for free but requires registration.

Chief Executive of Age Concern New Zealand Stephanie Clare said "Some of the quiz answers may be a surprise about who are the worst perpetrators of elder abuse. Too often we see family members taking advantage of their older relatives and it needs to stop. We need to stop hiding this abuse and all take responsibility to change the way we treat and care for older Kiwis”

The Age Concern New Zealand Media Release for 2019 WEAAD includes statistics on the calls they receive in relation to elder abuse. Age Concern states 80% of alleged abusers are family members. The media release encouraged people to seek help:

"Let’s not keep it hidden. Let’s make sure that anyone who has concerns for an older person knows they can contact their local Age Concern and discuss it in confidence and free of charge. We will listen to people’s concerns, offer to assess the situation, respect the wishes of the older person affected and always make sure the safety and wellbeing of the older person is the main consideration."

In 2018, the Office for Seniors published a brief video about elder abuse that highlights different forms of abuse. Listen to a Radio NZ interview about elder abuse with Hanny Naus, an Educator on Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention with Age Concern.

Where to go for help and support

The Elder Abuse Response Service, 0800 32 668 65 (0800 EA NOT OK), is a free national helpline providing support for older people at risk of or experiencing abuse and for people who have concerns about an older person. It is run by SuperSeniors, Ministry of Social Development.

For local support, see the list of Age Concern Elder Abuse Services and Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Services. Also see Age Concern's brochure, Do you have questions about the safety of an older person/Kaumātua? to find out more about their services.

Age Concern NZ has also produced a new brochure addressing financial abuse: It's Your Money and Your Choice!

Other helplines

As part of the It's not OK campaign, the 0800 Family Violence Information Line (0800 456 450) provides information and referrals to local services for people experiencing or using violence and for people who want to support others.

Safe to talk - He pai ki te kōrero is a national 24/7 helpline for people affected by 'sexual harm' and sexual violence. Contact the helpline by calling 0800 044 334, texting 4334, emailing support@safetotalk.nz or webchat on www.safetotalk.nz.

Related news

The Government has been working to develop a new ageing strategy. The draft strategy, Better Later Life – He Oranga Kaumātua 2019 to 2034, includes safety and elder abuse.

Some funding announcements were made as part of Budget 2019 addressing services for seniors including funding for upgrading and enhancing the SuperGold Card, Digital Literacy Training for seniors, and ACC changes that better support working superannuitants who are injured.

A number of international and United Nation agencies held a special event on 6 June 2019 focused on Violence Against Older Women. Some of the statements and presentation slides are available from the event.

Related media

Elder abuse 'rampant' and 'all-hidden' in New Zealand, Stuff, 18.06.2019

Age Concern Nelson Tasman shines light on 'dreadful' elder abuse, Stuff, 16.06.2019

'Be kind' - simple message from Minister for Seniors ahead of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, One News, 14.06.2019

Sexual abuse of older persons must be exposed, says expert, Press Release: UN Special Procedures - Human Rights, Scoop, 14.06.2019

Elder Abuse - a hidden problem we must address, Press Release: Age Concern Auckland, Scoop, 10.06.2019

Elder abuse epidemic in Auckland with over 600 annual cases, Stuff, 10.06.2019

Awareness week hoping to get elder abuse out in the open and discussed in Rotorua, Rotorua Daily Post, 07.06.2019

Petition taken up for kaumātua commission, Waatea News, 22.02.2019

Champion for Seniors Petition Presented, Press Release: New Zealand First Party, Scoop, 19.02.2019