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Elder abuse not acceptable, says Dyson

Elder abuse not acceptable, says Dyson

Ruth Dyson marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day at the Hagley Park Netball Centre, Christchurch.


Elder abuse and neglect is not acceptable and needs to be brought out into the open, said Senior Citizens Minister Ruth Dyson.

Ruth Dyson was speaking at an Age Concern workshop marking World Elder Abuse Awareness Day at the Hagley Park Netball Centre, Christchurch.

Ruth Dyson says international literature indicated that 3 to 10 per cent of older New Zealanders - between 15,000 and 50,000 people - are likely to experience physical, verbal, emotional or financial abuse.

"Empowering older people is the most effective tool in the response to abuse and neglect in later life and this is something the Labour-led government and Age Concern are committed to through the Positive Ageing Strategy."

"We share a common goal - to ensure that all New Zealanders are able to maintain active, fulfilling lives in their later years, and participate fully in our communities. "

Ruth Dyson said financial abuse was one of the hardest forms of abuse to deal with, largely because of the legal issues involved. She has asked the Office of Senior Citizens to review the legislative provisions of the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988 as they relate to the Enduring Power of Attorney.

"Enduring Power of Attorney is an important way for people to provide for advanced old age, when they may not be able to make decisions about their personal lives and finances. However, such an arrangement can be misused, and the well-being and finances of an older person put at risk."

Background information

There are 24 elder abuse and neglect prevention services throughout New Zealand which are funded by an additional $3 million over four years from Budget 2005.

Age Concern provides 16 services and Presbyterian Support is the next largest service provider, with offices around the country.

Services are also provided to Pacific peoples by the Auckland Methodist Mission and Maori in the Taranaki region can reach culturally specific services through Tui Ora.

More information about World Elder Abuse Awareness Day can be found at


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