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Extra support announced to tackle elder abuse

New figures surrounding elder abuse and the risks faced by older Australians has led the Federal Government to announce a $2 million boost to national elder abuse prevention service, Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN).

More funding has been announced by Government to tackle the issue of elder abuse (Source: Shutterstock)
More funding has been announced by Government to tackle the issue of elder abuse (Source: Shutterstock)

Federal Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt announced the additional funding, referencing the latest statistics, and highlighting that preventing elder abuse is “everybody’s business” because all older Australians have a fundamental right to expect safe treatment.

“New figures show that OPAN had a combined 1,330 information contacts and cases of people at risk of or experiencing elder abuse in its first year of operation, and that it conducted 285 sessions to educate older Australians and service providers on elder abuse protection,” Minister Wyatt explains.

“This new funding builds on the $1 million provided to OPAN to help combat elder abuse over the past year,” Minister Wyatt says.

“OPAN is using the funding to trial a national elder abuse advocacy and prevention model of information, advocacy and education services, based on successful Western Australian and South Australian elder abuse prevention programs.

“It’s important that we shine a light on any physical, emotional or financial abuse of our elders.

“The OPAN services report that the more they make their services known, the more people contact them, who often feel they have nowhere to turn for help.

“I encourage everyone in need to take advantage of OPAN’s free service, which also includes individual information and advocacy support on all issues to do with aged care.”

OPAN Chief Executive Officer Lewis Kaplan has welcomed the additional funding for the organisation and its projects.

“OPAN is very pleased to receive additional funding from the Commonwealth to further develop its work providing direct advocacy services to older people experiencing or at risk of abuse,” Mr Kaplan says.

“The more publicity the issue received, the more people reach out to our and other services.

“The need is still unmeasured, but there is clearly a very high level of unmet need.”

The key projects OPAN are working on with the support of Government funding include:

  • Developing national elder abuse advocacy response protocols
  • Creating a national decision making system to support older people, especially those living with dementia
  • Implementing a national elder abuse minimum dataset
  • Mapping elder abuse referral and support pathways in each State and Territory
  • Researching special needs of rural and remote populations

More information about OPAN and their services are available online or by calling 1800 700 600.

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