Queensland Law Society

Lift the lid on elder abuse: QLS

Date 15 Jun 2018
Contact Tony Keim
Phone 07 3842 5835
Mobile 0488 433 884
Email media@qls.com.au

Queensland Law Society president Ken Taylor said today (FRI 15 JUN) that it was time to lift the lid on elder abuse in Australia and raise awareness, education and reporting.

Mr Taylor explained that International Elder Abuse Awareness Day was held June 15 each year to promote awareness of what was quite often a silent scourge.

“Elder abuse is widespread and includes all forms of abuse from physical and emotional to sexual and financial,” he said.

“Those targeted are among our most vulnerable – the elderly – particularly when mental or physical capacity is diminished and they are relying on relatives or carers to take care of them.”

Mr Taylor said that there were three areas that needed to be addressed – awareness, education and reporting – by all levels of Government and the community.

“A key issue with elder abuse is that there is a real lack of reporting, which means it is often kept silent and not addressed at higher levels,” he said.

“We need to encourage victims to not only report their abuse but also to understand what is classed as abuse, and that is where further education and awareness comes in.

“With 60% of elder abuse being perpetrated by the person’s children, there is a lack of real understanding that they are being abused, as well as a fear for the consequences for their child.”

Mr Taylor explained that alongside increasing awareness, education and reporting, was adequate access to legal assistance.

“We must ensure that victims of any type of abuse have access to legal assistance in their local area, should they require it,” he said.

“Many elderly cannot afford independent legal advice from a private practitioner, and so rely on pro bono lawyers, community legal centres and legal aid.

“More funding is required along with easy access to advice, with many barriers including not only finances but also mobility and distance for victims who may no longer be driving themselves or may not have access to technology such as Skype to speak to a solicitor.

“There must be access to justice and assistance at all levels, but for this to happen we must show an increase in reporting to show our governments that this is a widespread, serious problem for Australians.”

ENDS

For further information, please contact Tony Keim on 07 3842 5835, mobile 0488 433 884 or via email, media@qls.com.au.