Jul 26, 2023

New policy to address elder abuse in SA

Sadly, a national prevalence study showed more than 60% of older people didn't seek help or advice when they were experiencing abuse or mistreatment. [Source: Shutterstock]

The South Australian Government has released a new Statewide policy agenda to prevent, recognise, and respond to the abuse and mistreatment of older people.

Future Directions to Safeguard the Rights of Older South Australians 2023-2027 sets out the direction, strategic priorities, and conditions to address the abuse and mistreatment of older people in South Australia over the next five years. 

It focuses on tackling ageism as a fundamental element of safeguarding the rights of older people as ageism can impede living and ageing well, negatively affect the provision of services, supports and care, prevent older people from participating in the workforce, and lead to abuse or mistreatment.

Executive Director of Office for Ageing Well, Cassie Mason, explained that it is vital to uphold older people’s rights by demonstrating through words and actions that there is no expiry date on making a meaningful contribution to our community and society.

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Cassie Mason. [Source: Twitter]

“Future Directions aims to raise awareness and identify opportunities to prevent, recognise, and respond to the abuse or mistreatment of older people, setting out a clear approach to safeguard the rights of older South Australians by providing suggested actions and partnerships.”

Future Directions outlines the State’s journey to preventing elder abuse to date, projects and achievements, suggested actions as well as the process of development. 

It has been shaped by extensive consultation with older people as well as a wide range of stakeholders, advisory groups and networks.

It also found older women were most likely to be impacted, with the most common perpetrators being adult sons.

In the same vein, South Australia’s Elder Abuse Prevention community awareness campaign is currently underway, encouraging South Australians to reconsider how they think and speak about ageing and older people.

Anyone who suspects abuse or mistreatment of an adult who may be vulnerable can seek free confidential advice and support or make a report to the Adult Safeguarding Unit on 1800 372 310.

For more information, visit the SA Health website.

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