The wire
Call to action against elder abuse
Call to action against elder abuse

A new report from the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) is calling for the Federal Government to establish national laws to counter abuse against elders.

Released on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the Elder Abuse - A National Legal Response makes 43 recommendations to safeguard elders against physical, sexual and financial abuse, cruel treatment, and neglect.

Speaking on 2ser Radio, COTA CEO Sue Leitch said she hoped both sides of government would support the report's recommendations.

COTA, formerly the Council on the Ageing, is the peak national body representing the rights of older Australians.

“As a whole community, we need to take a stand on this, and we need to support people that we think might be affected by it,” Ms Leitch said.

“There [are] things that we’re pretty firm on: we want to see good national policy guidelines around this space; we’d like to see much better reporting, so actually labelling physical reporting as physical abuse, but if we can also label as elder abuse, we’re gonna get a better picture of what’s going on.”

As a whole community, we need to take a stand on this

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Association’s Acting Federal Secretary Annie Butler said aged care residents were not getting the quality of care they deserved.

“What the research has discovered is that on average a resident in aged care only gets 2.8 hours of care if they’re lucky, and we know that to be given actually decent, reasonable safe and quality care, a resident should get 4.3 hrs on average,” she said.

Ms Butler also expressed concerns that the current funding for aged care was not channeling the funds into the right places.

“At the moment, there’s a lot of funding going into aged care: governments and other political parties are complaining that they can’t keep it up, they can’t keep up the growing levels as the population continues to age,” she said.

“But the other thing we haven’t really fleshed out properly is: where is the money going? We know it’s not always going to ensuring that we’ve got safe and quality care for every resident,” Ms Butler said.

The full story is available on 2ser at The Elder Abuse - A National Legal Response report is available here.