With elder abuse on the rise, United Voice NSW welcomes all 11 recommendations by the General Purpose Standing Committee No. 2 in the report titled 'Elder abuse in NSW’, released today.
What is elder abuse?
- Elder abuse can be physical, psychological, emotional, sexual, financial, as well as intentional or unintentional neglect
- The Inquiry found that the number of people at risk of elder abuse is increasing due to Australia’s ageing population - with the number of people aged 65 and over projected to double by 2050.
- It has been estimated that at least 50,000 people in NSW have experienced some form of elder abuse, although elder abuse often goes under reported.
The Committee’s recommendations include:
- The introduction of a Public Advocate to investigate complaints of elder abuse and ensure that the rights of older people are respected;
- The introduction by the NSW Police Force of Vulnerable Community Support Officers in all regions to undertake community engagement activities and support front line officers;
- Legislative changes to improve protections against the misuse of powers of attorney;
- Greater investment in training, prevention and coordination among service providers;
- The expansion of the role of the NSW Elder Abuse Helpline and Resource Unit.
United Voice members understand the vital role the workforce has in preventing, responding and remedying elder abuse.
United Voice believes that for older people to live free from violence, abuse and neglect, we require a stable, professionally trained, qualified and dedicated workforce.
“Retaining good quality workers must be recognised as the key in exposing and overcoming abuse and neglect in the aged care sector. It is essential that the paid workforce be acknowledged as a vital part of the solution” said Ms Mel Gatfield, Branch Secretary of United Voice NSW.
“Our members, who are Home Care workers, are in a unique position to detect abuse and to carefully assess any abuse problems because they are able to observe the client’s home environment”.
United Voice NSW particularly welcomes Recommendation 5, which calls on the Government to fund a comprehensive plan addressing the training needs of service providers, to enable better identification of and responses to abuse.
“All workers in the sector should have access to mandatory on-going professional training, education and information to recognise and appropriately respond to indicators of abuse, violence and neglect” said Ms Gatfield.
United Voice is disappointed to not see any recommendation by the Committee for the establishment of a Commonwealth licensing body for aged care workers, or the creation of a professional registration body for both aged care and disability sector workers.
“However, this is an historic report and we look forward to seeing action on the growing issue of elder abuse by the NSW State Government” concluded Ms Gatfield.