Contact details for Age Concern Elder Abuse Response Services


What is Elder Abuse?


Elder Abuse and Neglect is 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.

 

                        Definition adopted from WHO Toronto Declaration on the Global Prevention of Elder Abuse, 2002

 For research into elder abuse and neglect please click here. 



Psychological Abuse

Louise Collins, Age Concern National Advisor for Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention services speaks about her experiences in dealing with psychological abuse.








What does Age Concern do? 


Age Concern provides free and confidential Elder Abuse Response Services in most cities and provincial areas throughout New Zealand. These services respond to any situations where an older person / kaumātua’s safety or wellbeing is at risk. These services employ professional staff to work with older people / kaumātua and their family / whanau to provide support and advice towards reducing the harm caused by elder abuse and neglect. 

 To contact an Age Concern that offers an Elder Abuse Response Service click here. You can also ring the 24 hour helpline on 0800 326 6865 to be directed to the nearest Elder Abuse Response Service.  



What does Elder Abuse look like?


There are different types of abuse, and commonly several types occur together. These include:


Psychological Abuse

Behaviour causing mental anguish, stress or fear.  For example:

  • ridicule or threats

  • harassment or humiliation

  • preventing choice or decision-making

  • withholding affection.

Financial Abuse                                                 

Illegal or improper use of money, property or other assets.  For example:

  • unauthorised taking of money or possessions
  • misuse of power of attorney
  • failure to repay loans
  • use of home and/or utilities without contributing to costs
  • scams that rely on establishing a relationship with the older person with the intention of exploiting their savings and/or assets, e.g. romance scams.

Physical Abuse

Infliction of pain, injury or use of force.  For example:

  • hitting, pushing, rough handling
  • over-medication
  • inappropriate use of restraints or confinement.

Neglect

Not providing for physical, emotional or social needs. For example:

  • inadequate food, clothing, shelter
  • lack of social contact, support
  • health needs not attended to.

Sexual Abuse

Non-consensual sexual acts or exploitive behaviours. For example:

  • inappropriate touching
  • sexual acts with someone unable to give consent.

Institutional Abuse

A policy or accepted practice within an organisation that disregards a person’s rights or causes harm. For example:

  • lack of respect for a person’s culture or customs
  • inappropriate rationing of continence products
  • inflexible routines e.g. breakfast at 8 am in the dining room.


What’s Happening in New Zealand?

Elder abuse is a global issue and in New Zealand affects men and women people regardless of the religion, income level, culture, sexual orientation or ethnic group they identify with.  Much abuse is unreported to agencies, but last year Age Concern’s elder abuse services received more than 2,200 referrals.  Two thirds of these were confirmed to involve elder abuse or neglect.  

More than one type of abuse usually occurs in these situations of which: 
• more than 70% involved psychological abuse
• more than 50% involved financial abuse
• 18% involved physical abuse
• 18% involved neglect
• 18% involved self-neglect

In these situations that Age Concerns have worked with: 
• more than 50% of the alleged abusers are children or grandchildren
• more than 75% of the alleged abusers are family/relatives

Elder abuse and neglect is also identified by a range of other agencies including health providers, Police, other Elder Abuse Response Services, lawyers, banks, or other community and government agencies.

 


How can Elder Abuse and Neglect be Prevented?


Age Concern works towards preventing elder abuse and neglect by information sharing and by encouraging us all to:

  • Respect older people / kaumātua
  • Support older people / kaumātua to make their own decisions
  • Check that older people / kaumātua’s human rights are met
  • Ensure that older people / kaumātua live safe and secure, free from violence
  • Challenge ageist attitudes that denigrate the value of the older generation