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Family violence report good news for seniors

Media Release
Age Concern New Zealand


28 July 2006

Family violence report good news for seniors

Older people are key to preventing family violence, says Age Concern New Zealand.

Age Concern New Zealand welcomes ‘The First Report’ of the Taskforce for Action on Violence within Families, says chief executive Ann Martin.

“The report says our rates of elder abuse, along with the other forms of family violence are ‘shameful’ (p4), and we agree.

“Older people are an important part of strong healthy families and communities. While some experience family violence, they can all provide leadership to promote stable families.

“Too many older people are experiencing elder abuse, most often at the hands of their own sons and daughters.

“However, older people can also be part of the solution to the problem. Often, it is grandparents who take on the task of rebuilding families after the damage done by family violence.

“Older people need support and we are pleased to see it being offered in the report. It acknowledges that funding for community organisations has not kept pace with demand. (p27)

“Age Concern New Zealand agrees and looks forward to the more sustainable funding models being offered.

Ann Martin says there are too many gaps in services helping older people throughout the country and support organisations are struggling to meet increasing demand.

“For example, the Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Services that older people turn to for support and advocacy are still only part-funded by government, leaving the burden to be picked up by the voluntary sector.

“We know that ageist attitudes are at the root of elder abuse so we welcome the initiatives to change community attitudes and behaviour announced in the report. New Zealand society needs to value older people.

“We trust that immediate work can include the development of a multistakeholder strategic plan for elder abuse and neglect prevention and that Age Concern New Zealand will be centrally involved in this and other group awareness promotion activities.

Age Concern New Zealand also endorses the report’s call for the resourcing of Mäori, Pacific peoples and other ethnic communities to promote safe families in ways that meet their needs and cultural practices.

“The report is a platform to acknowledge older people’s important role and Age Concern New Zealand looks forward to continuing to play our part in making New Zealand families strong, healthy and safe,” says Ann Martin.

ENDS

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