News & Events

Elder abuse not tolerated at OCAV

June 25, 2016

Elder Abuse Awareness Day was celebrated on June 15 and OCAV’s Liscombe House marked the internationally declared day by reminding their care recipients that no abuse will be tolerated.

 

Staff wore purple, the symbolic colour of the day and an afternoon of fun was organized. But beneath the fun, there were a few minutes of serious talk when care recipients were reminded that they have the right to live free of abuse.

 

Mandy Williamsons, Lifestyle Coordinator at Liscombe House, said the other important message conveyed to care recipients was that senior staff can be their voice and advocates if necessary, so don’t be afraid to speak up.

 

The United Nations General Assembly designated June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), when the world voiced its opposition to the abuse and suffering inflicted on older people, most often by their families.

 

Seniors Rights Victoria says elder abuse is any act, which causes harm to an older person and is carried out by someone they know and trust, such as a family member or friend. The abuse may be physical, social, financial, psychological or sexual and can include mistreatment and neglect. Elder abuse is vastly under-reported, but the World Health Organisation estimates that up to 10 per cent of older people worldwide are affected.

 

The latest figures compiled by the National Ageing Research Institute of Seniors Rights Victoria data show that financial abuse and psychological/emotional abuse together are the most common forms of abuse reported by older Victorians (81.82%). Victims are most likely to be female (72.5%), and the perpetrators are 60% male and 40% female. 92.3% of abuse is perpetrated by persons related to the older person or in a de facto relationship: 66.8% of abuse is perpetrated by a child of the older person.

 

“We want our care recipients to know that they do not have to tolerate abuse from a family member or from any staff member. I have never had anyone raise an issue with me, but we want to reinforce to people that we are here to advocate for them,” Mandy said.

 

“I have worked at places, prior to coming to OCAV, where older people could not come on an outing because a family member controlled their money and would not give them any. Some families refused to even provide money for clothes. It is hard to believe, but it does happen and money is a common form of elder abuse.”

 

“We also want to create an awareness amongst our care recipients that they can be an advocate for one another and alert staff if they think something is wrong.”

 

“Our message to residents on June 15 was that Liscombe House is a safe environment.”

 

Liscombe House staff receive ongoing training to suit the demands of the area in which they work. One example is the online training program, Moving On Training, which all staff must complete. It covers a range of health issues including recognising elder abuse.

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