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Te Rito Coordinators are worth their weight in gold


Age Concern New Zealand media release
21 Mar 2011

Te Rito Coordinators are worth their weight in gold

Age Concern New Zealand is alarmed at the possibility funding for Te Rito Coordinators and other family violence prevention initiatives may be cut.

As reported in the Herald on Saturday, there is a strong possibility that Associate Minister for Social Development, Tariana Turia, will seek to shift funding currently used for these positions (and some other family violence prevention initiatives) to the Whanau ora pool. Age Concern professional adviser Jayne McKendry says “This move would sound the death knell for much of the collaborative work that has been happening in communities throughout the country.”

“We all know that the best way to address family violence is through agencies and communities working together. The Te Rito networks, spearheaded by the Coordinators, have helped to make our elder abuse and neglect prevention services a visible part of that action”, Jayne says.

“Finally we are not the only people saying that older people experience family violence too. Finally we are not working alone to encourage people to speak out about elder abuse.”

Age Concern elder abuse and neglect prevention services confirm a least two new cases of elder abuse each day, on average. But they know that's just the tip of the iceberg; much remains hidden.

“Seventy to 80 percent of elder abuse and neglect in New Zealand occurs at the hands of family members.

“This is one of the reasons it stays hidden – many older people won’t speak out because they feel ashamed their family member is treating them so badly. Or sometimes they are scared that if they say something, it will get even worse.”

We support increased funding for Maori and Pacific initiatives, but doing that by cutting existing community driven initatives makes no sense.

Raising the awareness of other organisations, and of the general public is key to getting help to older people experiencing elder abuse and neglect. The Te Rito networks are important collaborators in this work for Age Concern and the elder abuse and neglect prevention services.

Ends

Visit www.ageconcern.org.nz for the contact details of the nearest Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Service.

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