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Upper Hutt City Council supports Elder Abuse Awareness Week

Media release


Monday, 16 June 2014

Upper Hutt City Council supports Elder Abuse Awareness Week

Elder Abuse Awareness Week (15 – 22 June) is an opportunity to raise awareness about elder abuse in New Zealand. Upper Hutt City Council is supporting the initiative through the provision of information.

UPPER HUTT, Wellington NZ, 16 JUN 2014— Upper Hutt City Council is supporting Elder Abuse Awareness Week by making information booklets available across Council services. The booklets are available now at Upper Hutt City Library, H2O Xtream, and Council reception.

Elder Abuse Awareness Week runs from 15 – 22 June, and is an opportunity to raise awareness that elder abuse does occur in New Zealand and that every day community members can help.

Age Concern, a charitable organisation dedicated solely to older New Zealanders, states that they receive more than 2,000 referrals of elder abuse every year. This equates to eight referrals every working day.

Elder abuse often happens at the hands of family members or carers, and can include psychological, financial, and physical abuse. Actions that constitute elder abuse include controlling an older person’s money, treating them like children, name calling, denying them access to the care they need, and taking decisions out of their hands. Age Concern also emphasises that elder abuse happens across people of all incomes, religions, and ethnicities.

“Elder abuse is a very serious issue that unfortunately often goes unreported,” says Upper Hutt City Council’s Community Services Manager, Debbie Duncan. “We are committed to raising awareness of this issue to help older adults, their carers, family, and friends to have strong and healthy relationships where everybody is well looked after.”

Signs that an older person is being abused can include unexplained behaviour and injuries, change in habits, fear of a particular person, lack of basic necessities, and unusual bank withdrawals or unpaid bills, amongst other signs. These can be single, or repeated acts, or could be a lack of action to assist someone. They can occur within relationships where trust and care is expected.

People can help older adults by seeking support for anyone they suspect is at risk of or is experiencing any signs of elder abuse. They can also find out more information and get support by calling Age Concern Wellington (04 499 6646), the Family Violence Helpline (0800 456 450) or the Carers New Zealand helpline (0800 777 797). Information is also available online at www.areyouok.org.nz

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