Queensland Law Society

QLS says Federal Budget funding for Elder Abuse initiatives a good start

Queensland’s peak legal group has welcomed the $22 million Federal Budget commitment to Elder Abuse initiatives – but says more could be done to help the nation’s elderly.
 
Queensland Law Society president Ken Taylor said funding announced during Tuesday’s Budget was a positive step toward addressing the often hidden problem of physical, emotional and financial abuse of seniors.
 
“Our vulnerable senior citizens should never have to endure abuse in any form," Mr Taylor said.
 
“The four-year Federal Budget funding commitment toward implementing recommendations in the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Report into Elder Abuse is a welcome first step.
 
“However, much more can and needs to be done at a state and federal level to ensure our nation’s elderly are protected from all and any forms of abuse.’’
 
Mr Taylor’s comments come on the same day QLS hosted an Elder Abuse Forum -- “Bad Behaviour or Criminal Conduct’’ -- to discuss varying views among eminent Queensland criminal and elder law practitioners about the potential need for specific criminal offences targeting elder abuse.
 
The package announced in the Federal Budget includes:
 

  • Increased funding for specialist front line services to support the elderly and their families seeking help with abuse;
  • Expansion and evaluation of elder abuse service trials, including elder abuse units, family counselling, mediation and health-justice partnerships; and,
  • Funding for the establishment of a national online register for enduring powers of attorney.

 
In June last year QLS launched the nation’s first trial campaign specifically designed to address the problem and raise awareness of Elder Abuse.

The Society’s trial, run with the assistance of the Australian Medical Association of Queensland, enlisted the help of general medical practitioners and staff from 315 clinics to look out for the symptoms of elder abuse and by referring patients to support services such as the “Elder Abuse Helpline” and QLS’s “Find a Solicitor Service.”
 
Mr Taylor said the trial and elder abuse forum were part of the Society’s on-going commitment and campaign to assist elderly people in the community who cannot protect themselves or need assistance to do so.

“As a profession, we must hold true to our duty to help the vulnerable, those who cannot help
themselves,’’ he said.
 
ENDS

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