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NSW working with Commonwealth on national elder abuse plan

20 Feb 2018

Attorney General Mark Speakman and Minister for Ageing Tanya Davies have today reaffirmed the NSW Government’s commitment to working with the Commonwealth to tackle elder abuse.

“Our population is getting older and this area of the law is affecting an increasing number of people who need help with decision making due to a cognitive decline associated with ageing,” Mr Speakman said.

The NSW Law Reform Commission is reviewing the Guardianship Act 1987 and the Government expects to receive the report by the end of May.

“We know elder abuse is not just a legal problem – it’s a problem that stretches across all facets of society,” Mr Speakman said.

Mrs Davies said that while the National Plan is being developed the NSW Government is continuing its work informed by the NSW Ageing Strategy.

“We have a Government-wide policy in place to help our frontline service staff identify and take action against elder abuse. In addition, the Elder Abuse Helpline and Resource Unit (EAHRU) was established in 2013 to help victims get the support they need,” Mrs Davies said.

Earlier this week, the NSW Government announced it will commence an Australian first trial at the EAHRU next month to better coordinate services such as police, Family and Community Services, health and disability services in cases of reported elder abuse. This will involve a new follow-up service until the abuse is mitigated or resolved.

“Abuse inflicted on any older person in the community is intolerable, and this work reaffirms the NSW Government’s commitment to improving safeguards for vulnerable older people,” Mrs Davies said.

The NSW Government has contributed nearly $200,000 to the national elder abuse research agenda, which forms part of Federal Government’s $15 million commitment to protect the rights of older Australians, and will inform the National Plan announced today.

Anyone who witnesses, experiences or suspects elder abuse should call the Helpline on 1800 628 221 or visit www.elderabusehelpline.com.au. In an emergency call ‘000’.