Ministers launch elder abuse awareness DVD

Ministers launch elder abuse awareness DVD

The Hon Pru Goward, Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister for Women, and the Hon. Andrew Constance, Minister for Ageing and Minister for Disability Services, launched the As Life Goes On DVD and resource kit on June 15, in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

Mr Constance said that the Australian Institute of Criminology estimates that 4.6 per cent of the New South Wales population aged 65 years and over are victims of abuse or neglect — as many as 50,000 people are at risk.

Funded by the NSW Government’s Domestic Violence Grants Program, more than 200 As Life Goes On DVD and resource kits have been produced for New South Wales councils and other organisations working within the Interagency Protocol for Responding to Abuse of Older People.

Ms Goward said that victims of abuse often suffered in silence, “Help is available, but often older people are isolated and too afraid to speak out.”

Commending the DVD on humanising the issue, Mr Constance said, “We can all do something to prevent the abuse of older people. Looking out for each other can make a difference.”

Developed by the Respect for Seniors Project — a joint venture of St Ives Uniting Church and UnitingCare Ageing Northern Sydney Region — the DVD and resource kit are part of an overall project to increase awareness of abuse, particularly domestic and family violence affecting older people, and to facilitate development of supportive networks in our communities.

The As Life Goes On DVD contains five scenarios depicting various situations that might occur for older members of society, often as a result of a loss of ability or independence. Increased dependence on others, often family members, can increase an individual’s vulnerability to making choices that may not be in their best interests, due to coercion, family conflict or a perceived loss of choice or options.

The DVD’s key message is that empowerment of older adults can enable greater control and self determination in difficult circumstances. The kit provides valuable resources and contact details to assist people to seek confidential advice and assistance from relevant services if required.

The Respect for Seniors Project is a grassroots campaign that empowers individuals and communities to share the vision of a more respectful society. The project’s goal is to create a safe, caring community where we can all age with dignity and respect.

Its website provides additional information as well as links to related support services and resources.

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