Senior man

New guide to help deal with elder abuse

Published: 16 June 2022
  • wa
  • 16 June 2022
  • Government of Western Australia

Seniors and Ageing Minister Don Punch has launched the Council on the Ageing Western Australia (COTA WA) Guide Understanding the Mistreatment of Older People.

The Guide is based on an approach of empowering older Western Australians to deal with elder abuse if and when it occurs.

Having good information is an integral part of this which is why the Guide explains and illustrates key issues associated with the mistreatment of older people, including:

  • the different forms of abuse;

  • when and where abuse commonly occurs;

  • possible reasons for the abuse;

  • how potential victims, their families, friends and community may help prevent mistreatment; and

  • strategies that victims and caregivers can adopt to help avoid abuse.

The Department of Communities funds the Vulnerable Seniors Peak under the auspices of COTA WA to advocate for and represent the interests of vulnerable older Western Australians including those that are experiencing or at risk of elder abuse.

Tomorrow (June 15) is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), which has been officially recognised by the United Nations as a day for the world to voice its opposition to the abuse and suffering inflicted on older people in global communities.

Estimates suggest that between two and 14 per cent of older Western Australians - between 7,000 and 49,000 people - are experiencing, or have experienced, some form of elder abuse.

Minister Punch also today met with volunteers from the Purple Road initiative, that aims to help and support older Western Australians in reporting elder abuse.

The Purple Road is an initiative of the Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre (NSCLC). NSCLC also delivers the Older People Rights Service (OPRS) which is funded by the Department of Communities.

Through the Purple Road initiative, volunteer peer educators from NSCLC explain to seniors what elder abuse is, listen to first-hand accounts of elder abuse and provide much-needed support.

Collectively, the many thousands of flowers on the road represent a vast collection of experiences of elder abuse in our communities and the underlying issue of ageism.

Comments attributed to Seniors and Ageing Minister Don Punch:

"Older people greatly contribute to our communities as volunteers, paid workers, students, family members, carers, and consumers.

"Older Western Australians are entitled to feel safe, secure, respected and valued.

"Elder abuse is becoming an increasing issue for ageing populations across the world and Western Australia is no exception.

"The prevalence of elder abuse made the provision of supports and resources a priority to ensure our most vulnerable can age safely, healthily and with dignity.

"This Guide is an excellent information resource for older Western Australians experiencing or at risk of elder abuse, and I congratulate the Council on the Ageing Western Australia for leading its development.

"COTA WA has shown great commitment in working with key stakeholders to ensure older Western Australians are well informed of available resources and how to access vital supports."