Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. At ANZASW we believe that elder persons should be honoured, celebrated and, where necessary, protected. On days such as this, we should all be mindful of the struggles that many of our elders face.

The World Health Organisation defines elder abuse as "a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person."

Elder abuse can express itself in many ways; broadly speaking, there are three main categories of abuse: financial, physical (including sexual) and psychological.

Neglect- not providing for essential needs- is another form of abuse that is all too common.

The issue of elder abuse and neglect is deeply connected to social justice: no fair society should tolerate the deprivation or mistreatment of those who have contributed to it the longest. For this reason, ANZASW believes that more resources should be put into combating elder abuse and neglect.

Across the country, social workers are at the forefront of the struggle to prevent or respond to elder abuse. They often have to deal with complex and challenging situations in which the victim may not be able to consent to interventions because of reduced mental capacity, and/or where their abusers are people who are close to them.

Age concern statistics show that that 76% of alleged abusers are family members. Elders in abusive situations can often normalise their mistreatment or can be reluctant to report the abuse because they are dependent on their family for care.

Social workers provide indispensable help to elders who are being abused, helping to empower them to make decisions that will increase their security, dignity and independence, removed from coercion or external pressure. They facilitate solutions in a holistic and compassionate manner, or provide support to prevent abuse before it starts.

Yet too often social workers are overloaded by demand. As one social worker and ANZASW member, told us: “In [my city] I’m the only social worker for older people in the community. The only one. So my workload is horrendous...I don’t have time for day to day social work, which is scary because we see the need and no-one’s filling it.”

ANZASW believes that by increasing the number of social workers assisting elders in the community, the rate of elder abuse can be lowered significantly and hidden cases of abuse can be identified.

Identification of elder abuse is the responsibility of all professionals so provision of education on recognition of and responding to elder abuse is essential

ANZASW also believes that social and economic factors that deepen the vulnerability of elder persons to abuse needs to addressed. More elders are not mortgage free at retirement and struggle to maintain appropriate housing and have sufficient to live off.

The primacy of economics in modern western society has resulted in the devaluation of elders; they can struggle to find work, or if they are retired, they can be labelled as non-contributors to the economy. Such perceptions feed ageist values, which elder persons can internalise, leading to worsening mental health and an increasing reliance on informal caregivers who can take advantage of their distress.

In addition to this, the increased financial precarity of elder persons is contributing to them becoming more dependent on others, often family members, leaving them open to exploitation, pressure and coercion.

ANZASW takes the view that improving the economic wellbeing of elders through greater welfare support will contribute to the diminishment of vulnerability to abuse.

ANZASW is committed to challenging discrimination and marginalisation of elder persons and celebrates the invaluable work that social workers do to provide dignity and protection to victims of abuse, both in Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Fair Pay Agreements Good: CTU Releases Report On Sector Bargaining

The Council of Trade Unions has today released an independent report conducted by economic research company BERL into the validity of sector bargaining.

And the findings are clear - there is no economic reason not to implement sector bargaining but many social and individual wellbeing reasons to do so. More>>


Goldsmith New National Finance Spokesperson: Amy Adams To Leave Politics In 2020

Amy Adams has announced she will retire from politics at the 2020 election and as a consequence of that decision she has chosen to stand down from the spokesperson roles she holds in the Party. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Government's Cosmetic Banking Reforms

The elephant in the room as the government carries out its latest bout of tinkerings with our banking practice is the extraordinary level of profit-taking still being extracted by the Australian Banking Gang from ordinary New Zealanders. Yes indeed, ... More>>


IPCA: Offensive Language, Misuse Of Pepper Spray

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that, following a pursuit in Auckland, a man was dealt with inappropriately and unprofessionally by a Police officer during his arrest. More>>


Stats NZ: Gender Inclusive Questions Introduced

More than 28,000 New Zealand households will be asked to take part in the upcoming Household Economic Survey. Starting this year, the survey will ask people to describe their gender – whether that is male, female, or if they see themselves another way, such as one of many non-binary genders. More>>

New Report: Are We Listening To Children?

A report released today is a sharp reminder that what children and young people say makes a difference, and that it’s time we paid more attention to their views, says Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft. More>>


The Nation: Canadian Euthanasia Practitioner Stefanie Green

The euthanasia debate is progressing, with the End of Life Choice Bill expected to have its second reading in Parliament on Wednesday. A similar bill was passed in Canada in 2016 ... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Gun Buy-Back Scheme

Do gun amnesties and buy-backs save lives? Since it’s always difficult to exclude all of the socio-economic factors that may be operating in parallel, the die-hard denialists in the gun lobby will always be able to find a bit of wiggle room. More>>





InfoPages News Channels