QUEENSLAND has launched a comprehensive awareness and prevention campaign to help curb elder abuse across the state.
The ‘there’s no excuse for elder abuse’ campaign was officially launched at Parliament House in Brisbane on Friday.
The campaign will be promoted online, in newspapers, on radio, in shopping centres and medical centres, and on buses.
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Iconic landmarks such as Parliament House, the Story Bridge, Wheel of Brisbane and Treasury Casino will also be lit up in purple to further raise awareness.
More than 1600 abuse notifications were made to Queensland’s Elder Abuse Prevention Unit Helpline in 2016/17 – an increase of seven per cent on the previous financial year.
Minister for Seniors Coralee O’Rourke said many common forms of elder abuse were ‘subtle’ and ‘hard to detect’.
“Financial abuse continues to be the most commonly reported primary abuse type at around 65 per cent, followed by psychological abuse at close to 59 per cent,” Mrs O’Rourke said.
“This is unacceptable and highlights why our campaign is so important.
“If your rights are being abused, it’s wrong. You do not have to tolerate this behaviour. There is help available and ways you can protect yourself.”
Mrs O’Rourke said close family members were usually the abusers and often hid the abuse.
“Because it is usually close family members who are the abusers, elder abuse is often hidden away and people are not willing to talk about it,” Mrs O’Rourke said.
“It’s time for that to change and to ensure we have thriving Queensland communities free of elder abuse.
“I’d like to get the message out there that there is no excuse for elder abuse at any time.”
Mrs O’Rourke said the Palaszczuk Government had expanded its seniors legal and support services to Gladstone, Rockhampton, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Mackay.
“Funding of $900,000 per year of the State Budget has been allocated to establish and operate the five new services,” Mrs O’Rourke said.
“These services will be in addition to the elder abuse prevention services already offered in Toowoomba, Brisbane, Hervey Bay, Cairns and Townsville.”
Ian Law, Chief Executive Officer, Relationships Australia said the new services would provide assistance to access individualised supports and referrals to those at risk of or currently experiencing elder abuse.
“If you need help, we have regionally located services you can get in touch with to provide customised support and advice in your time of need,” he said.
The State Government has also announced it will invest an extra $1.2 million over the next three years to provide financial protection advice through the seniors legal and support services.
People who are concerned that an elderly person is being abused and in need of assistance can call the Elder Abuse helpline on 1300 651 192.
For more information about elder abuse and the campaign, click here.