ELDER abuse is a hidden and pervasive form of violence, but Seniors Rights Service advocate Maree Montgomery aims to bring it back into the light.
Using grassroots discussion, Ms Montgomery hopes to raise awareness by bringing Rotary, the Country Women’s Association and Probus clubs together to tackle the issue in Tamworth.
“We’ve found a large number of elder abuse in our communities happens in the home,” she said.
“At least 59 per cent of callers that ring our hotline report elder abuse in their home and the perpetrator is often their son or daughter.”
Elder abuse is usually financial, but can also be psychological through neglect and isolation or physical – and sadly sometimes sexual.
Between five and 10 per cent of elder Australians experience abuse, and the majority of it is perpetrated by family members Seniors Rights Service data reveals.
Calling on the state government to take the issue seriously, the Seniors Rights Service held a conference for further research and education across the state.
That’s where the round tables in Tamworth come in.
If community organisations involved with elderly people come together and talk about the issue it’s hoped they will know where to turn if they find themselves victimised Ms Montgomery said.
“We know the victim has a lot of guilt or shame because it’s someone they love, cared for and nurtured and now they’re being victimised by them,” she said.
“It’s similar to domestic violence in that it’s caught up in family law, tradition, entrenched in culture and norms – so we’re putting research into law reform to have elder abuse criminalised.
“It’s very difficult to get absolute numbers because it’s so fraught with this rich texture of family and culture, but we would suggest it’s worse in isolated areas simply because of that isolation.”
At the Tamworth discussion, community members will watch a series of videos with Ellen Fanning interviewing experts in the area, the aim is to encourage others to continue the conversation beyond the workshops.
The Tamworth discussion is on November 15 at the Tamworth Community Centre from 2:30pm to 4pm and all are welcome.
For more information about the workshop email firstname.lastname@example.org.