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Government committed to elder abuse prevention

Hon Ruth Dyson
Minister for Senior Citizens

26 February 2008 Media Statement

Government committed to elder abuse prevention

Senior Citizens Minister Ruth Dyson has welcomed the release of research into elder abuse and neglect by the Families Commission.

The findings of the report “Risk and Protective Factors associated with Elder Abuse and Neglect” are based in part on interviews with a small number of older people and contain recommendations to government to continue implementing the New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy, the Health of Older People Strategy and Family Violence Intervention Guidelines.

Ruth Dyson said 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 is committed to through the Positive Ageing Strategy.

"The Strategy aims to ensure that all New Zealanders are able to maintain active, fulfilling lives in their later years, and participate fully in our communities.

"Another of the ways in which the government is addressing elder abuse and neglect is through funding that is going into making sure that residential care workers and home-based carers are properly trained and supported.

"Neglect and abuse of the elderly is unacceptable. Older people in New Zealand should be fully involved in our communities and enjoying their later years, not suffering isolation or ill-treatment.

“Our Labour-led government has invested $1.37 million in funding for 26 Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention (EANP) services around the country, 24 of which are part-funded by the Ministry of Social Development and co-ordinated by Age Concern. An additional $1.086 million per annum has been invested in SAGES, a programme that links older mentors with people in need.” said Ruth Dyson.

The sustainable funding for community groups announced recently, worth $446 million over the next four years, will be available to groups running SAGES and EANP services. The government will provide full funding for their contracted services, automatic funding adjustments for volume increases and annual cost adjustment payments, build workforce and capability, and support them to work closely with other community groups to reduce duplication and focus on outcomes.

In addition the Labour-led government has reviewed the legislation relating to Enduring Power of Attorney and is developing a code of practice for home equity conversion schemes, to address concerns about financial abuse of elderly people.


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