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Minister breaks the silence on elder abuse


Minister for Senior Citizens
23 November 2009
Media Statement

Minister breaks the silence on elder abuse

Senior Citizens’ Minister John Carter is taking the “It’s Not OK” message on the road, travelling to Wairoa today to raise awareness of elder abuse and neglect.

Speaking at the Breaking the Silence Hui, Mr Carter says the detection and prevention of elder abuse is one of his top priorities – and one all communities need to be involved in.

“It’s fantastic to see community groups here in Wairoa coming together to raise awareness about domestic violence and elder abuse.

“One of the most effective ways in which we can protect the rights and interests of older people is by raising awareness of elder abuse and neglect. Sadly, many of those experiencing abuse are suffering in silence – and this has got to change.”

Research shows up to 50,000 older New Zealanders may be suffering abuse, which is most likely to occur at the hands of a family member.

“We have to wake up to the different signs of elder abuse. Often, there are no cuts or bruises to see – but someone you love may be suffering abuse nonetheless.

“Using older people’s money without consent, treating older people like children, and hurling verbal abuse at them – these are all utterly unacceptable forms of ill-treatment.”

Mr Carter says Age Concern and the Campaign for Action on Family Violence have produced a booklet, Take the time … value older people, which sets out common forms of elder abuse and illustrates how family members, friends and carers can best protect, and enhance the dignity of, older New Zealanders.

“I hope as many Kiwis as possible read this booklet – because the longer we ignore elder abuse, the longer our older family members and friends will suffer in silence.”


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