Respect Victoria has joined the fight against elder abuse by launching a new family violence prevention campaign today demonstrating that elder abuse is everybody’s business.
Coinciding with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2019, Respect Victoria’s Chair, Melanie Eagle, and Chief Executive Officer, Tracey Gaudry, were joined by the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Gabrielle Williams MP, the Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, Luke Donnellan MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Anthony Carbines, and the Commissioner for Senior Victorians, Gerard Mansour to launch the campaign.
Following the success of Respect Victoria’s recent Respect Women: ‘Call It Out’ Active Bystander (Public Transport) campaign launched in April 2019, this campaign aims to create a social stigma around elder abuse to ultimately prevent it from happening in the first place. If early behaviours become normalised, we know that elder abuse, like other forms of family violence, can rapidly escalate and lead to a higher propensity of violence towards older people.
Speaking at today’s campaign launch, Respect Victoria’s Chair, Melanie Eagle said “It’s important that all Victorians have a clear understanding of the rights of older people and how these rights can be protected. This campaign urges older Victorians and those in contact with older people to speak up when early signs of elder abuse are noticed and to ultimately prevent elder abuse from escalating”.
Historically, it has been reported that between two per cent and 14 per cent of older people experience elder abuse in any given year. However, the prevalence of this form of family violence is likely higher.
With increasing house prices, and older people being at a point in their life where they can access their superannuation, clinicians and researchers recognise that we are reaching the point where an increasing number of older Australians have access to substantial wealth giving rise to potential pressure to relinquish or share with family members. Financial barriers to accessing housing, and increasing costs of living for younger family members can also add to this pressure.
According to the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Gabrielle Williams MP, the family violence highlighted in Respect Victoria’s latest campaign is not an uncommon occurrence for older Victorians, with financial abuse being one of the most prevalent forms of elder abuse reported for Victorians aged over 60.
The campaign runs from Friday 14 June 2019 and includes a mix of advertising across regional and metropolitan doctor surgeries and medical centres, radio, digital advertising across social media, online advertising and regional and metropolitan press. The campaign will also be supported by a series of printed materials to be distributed to senior services, non-government organisations, councils, libraries and hospitals to raise awareness of elder abuse among their clients and connect them to the range of support services across the state.
For more information on the campaign and how to get involved, visit www.respectvictoria.vic.gov.au