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Turner: Abuse & neglect prevention services a must

Thursday, 22 June 2006

Turner: Abuse & neglect prevention services a must!

United Future Deputy Leader Judy Turner today called on the government to do more than just quantify the level of elder abuse in New Zealand.

Responding to the launch of "Towards The Prevention of Financial Abuse" project which aims to raise awareness of the problem and to educate those working for older people so that they can detect signs of abuse, Mrs Turner said this is not going anywhere far enough in stamping out the problem.

"Age Concern NZ has already completed a very good analysis of their referrals over a two year period and the key findings do not make for pretty reading," Mrs Turner commented.

"The pamphlets offering advice are a good start, but the vast proportion of abusers are close family members, and it is often very difficult for an older person fearing isolation from their family to be assertive when they need to.

"I believe a well publicised free 0800 number for older people to discuss their fears and worries and receive referrals to support and mediation services within their local community would be a good thing.

"Free, independent support and advice minus the pressures of family obligation can be invaluable for people considering important issues like changing wills, establishing enduring power of attorney, selling property and also for other more everyday concerns like handling requests for money, for accommodation and access to bank accounts.

"I suspect that if the government was to set up a phone service in partnership with community agencies like Age Concern who currently use their volunteer workforce to support our elders, the cost would be minimal but the impact significant.

"We must do more than just increase awareness. We must provide easy access to real help."


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