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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: Together we are better, always!

Aged Rights Advocacy Service (ARAS) in South Australia will host their annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) Conference on 12 June as an online forum to continue educating and raising awareness about elder abuse in the country.

​Aged Rights Advocacy Service (ARAS) is hosting their annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Conference as a online forum this year. [Source: iStock]
​Aged Rights Advocacy Service (ARAS) is hosting their annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Conference as a online forum this year. [Source: iStock]

The theme for this year's WEAAD online forum is 'Together we are better', and will be the 14th conference for the ARAS.

Starting at 10am ACST (Australian Central Standard Time) tomorrow, the online forum will be opened by the Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Stephen Wade.

Chief Executive of ARAS, Carolanne Barkla, explains that the forum will focus on Government agencies, service providers, advocacy groups, and the community on how they can work together to deliver quality care and support older Australians with compassion that doesn't compromise their rights and ensures their ongoing wellbeing.

"The theme resonates appropriately with our current circumstances and the need for collaboration and community awareness of the abuse of older people in particular during this COVID-19 pandemic," says Ms Barkla.

The forum will hone in on gaps in current support systems that are aligned with recommendations from the Australian Law Reform Commission Report, Elder Abuse - A National Legal Response (ALRC Report), and provide best practice prevention, responding to abuse of older people, and adult safeguarding.

Age Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Kay Patterson AO, will be giving a presentation on ageism and abuse of older people. As the Commissioner, she has insight and knowledge into the rights of older workers, the blight of abuse experienced by older people, and can encourage innovative solutions to homelessness among older Australians. 

Janet Anderson PSM, Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner, will also be making a presentation on ways to protect aged care consumers during a pandemic like COVID-19.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission is the first point of call for consumers in relation to quality and safety, the organisation helps ensure aged care providers are providing safe care to older Australians.

Ms Barkla will provide an overview of the ARAS service delivery in 2018/2019, and will be giving a brief discussion on the annual State of the Nation presentation, which will reflect the recommendations in the ALRC Report.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Aged and Disability Advocacy (ADA) Australia, Geoff Rowe, will be presenting his observations from the Paul Tys Churchill Fellowship that includes best practice in preventing and responding to elder abuse in aged care and community environments. 

The Director of Office for Ageing Well at SA Health, Cassie Mason, will be covering how COVID-19 has impacted adult safeguarding, 

While elder abuse is a complex global health and social issue, the ARAS WEAAD online forum hopes to tackle the issue and provide real-world solutions.

ARAS is encouraging communities to stand up and speak out about the issue by sharing messages on Facebook to mark WEAAD 2020. Wearing a purple ribbon is a sign of support for WEAAD, or people can host a virtual morning tea to spread awareness about the impact of abuse on older people.

Ms Barkla says, "Every one of us deserves to lead a safe and happy life, free from abuse, as we age."

For more information about the event, head to the ARAS website, or to sign up for the free online forum, book a ticket on their event page.

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