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Improved measures to prevent elder abuse

Improved measures to prevent elder abuse

Senior Citizens Minister Ruth Dyson has announced a package of initiatives to improve the protection of older people from abuse. They include evaluating current elder abuse and neglect prevention services, holding a forum of key stakeholders, and nominating a lead government agency to take responsibility for the issue. “Older people are particularly vulnerable to physical, emotional and financial abuse. This can be a hidden problem, compounded by the isolation, communication difficulties and lack of support facing some older people. It is essential that we have good information about the level and types of abuse so that we can identify victims’ needs and ensure high-quality services are in place.”

Nine providers, including Age Concern, run 22 elder abuse and neglect prevention services throughout the country. Ms Dyson said the Ministry of Social Development would evaluate all current contracts to assess their effectiveness, beginning in August 2003.

Ms Dyson said she would also host a forum of key stakeholders to look at the current provision of elder abuse and neglect prevention services, the inter-relationship between relevant government department and the services they provide, and any gaps in services.

“I will be working with my colleagues, particularly Steve Maharey and Annette King, to agree on a lead agency for future policy work arising out of the forum and the evaluation project.”

Ruth Dyson commended Age Concern New Zealand for publishing a report last year on elder abuse and neglect prevention services, based on referrals made to the organisation between July 1998 and June 2001.

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