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Elder Abuse is unacceptable

Hon Ruth Dyson
Minister for Senior Citizens

Hon David Cunliffe
Minister of Health

29 June 2008 Media Statement

Elder Abuse is unacceptable

The abuse of older people in our society is completely unacceptable.

“The alleged abuse of an elderly rest home resident is abhorrent,” said Ruth Dyson Minister for Senior Citizens and Minister of Health David Cunliffe said.

“While I can’t comment on this incident as the police are now involved, such abuse is totally unacceptable. As a community we need to change social attitudes by raising community awareness about the abuse and neglect of older people. It saddens me that such an incident can occur, but the abuse of older people is often a hidden problem,” said Ruth Dyson.

Minister of Health David Cunliffe said he had sought urgent information on the alleged case.

“I would expect if any rest-home or care-provider was found to have allowed any form of abuse to have occurred then steps would be swiftly taken to ensure the safety of some of our most vulnerable citizens is protected and action taken against any perpetrator,” Mr Cunliffe said.

“If the facts of this case are verified as they appear I would expect the MOH to urgent action against the rest-home concerned,” Mr Cunliffe said

"The Government has worked on a range of initiatives to stop the abuse of older people and has taken significant steps to promote positive ageing. To achieve this, the government funds prevention services in 24 communities,” said Ruth Dyson.


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Government initiatives to help prevent abuse of older people:

• The New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy, launched in 2001, encourages older people to participate in their communities and recognises the value of their knowledge, skills and experience.

• The Government’s Pathway to Partnership investment into the community based family, child and youth services will also strengthen the capacity, capability and sustainability of existing elder abuse and neglect services.

• The Family Violence Intervention Guidelines: Elder Abuse and Neglect have been released to support health providers to assist older people experiencing abuse.

• The Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988 has been amended so that the enduring powers of attorney provisions are strengthened. This will provide greater protections for people whose mental incapacity requires them to rely on other people to make care, welfare and property decisions on their behalf.

• A code of practice for home equity release schemes has been developed. The code will help to protect older people's financial interests.

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