The State Government has launched a new hotline aimed at providing support for victims of elderly abuse in Western Australia.
According to the Department of Seniors and Volunteers, about 12,500 WA seniors have suffered some form of elderly abuse.
A report released by elderly abuse support agency Advocare, which will manage the hotline, found this was likely to increase. The report also found financial abuse was the most frequently recorded type of abuse and the misuse of an Enduring Power of Attorney was the most frequently reported type of financial abuse.
Advocare chief executive officer Greg Mahney said the hotline would provide support and advice for victims of all types of elder abuse.
“It is true that financial abuse cases will be the most common we experience but it is by no means the only sort of abuse,” he said.
“Elder abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, psychological or neglect.
“The hotline is not only for victims but is open for friends, family or staff who witness or suspect elderly abuse.”
Speaking at the National Elder Abuse Conference in Perth, WA Seniors and Volunteering Minister Tony Simpson said older people who had little outside contact were most at risk.
“The emotional toll on these people cannot be overstated,” he said.
“Often, they feel too ashamed to tell anyone. And nursing home staff or other family members who suspect abuse have had nowhere to turn, until now.”
The National Elder Abuse Conference aims to raise awareness and present practical solutions for elderly care and support industry professionals.