Greysafe welcomes new initiatives to target elder abuse

Media Release: 1 October, 2017

An advocacy group for older Australians has welcomed today’s announcement by the Attorney-General, George Brandis, that the Federal Government will contribute $15 million towards a range of new initiatives to tackle elder abuse.

Greysafe, a not for profit organisation that works to prevent the abuse, neglect and exploitation of older Australians, last week wrote to the Attorney-General urging him to fast track the development of a national action plan with timeline for implementing a range of urgently needed elder abuse reforms.

“We congratulate the Federal Government on committing much needed funding and resources to tackle some of the key issues that have been identified by elder abuse victims, impacted families and advocates,” Greysafe CEO Michael Riley said.

“Significantly, the Federal Government has recognised the need for an urgent and definitive study to take place to determine the prevalence and nature of elder abuse. At present, we have no idea of the exact number of older Australians being subjected to elder abuse.”

“There is also recognition by the Federal Government that despite some great work being undertaken to address elder abuse issues by States and Territories and various institutions, much of the work to date has been happening in silos or is fragmented. The establishment of a new national elder abuse peak body will hopefully lead to a more rapid and co-ordinated response to supporting elder abuse victims and advocating for the policy changes needed to support the efforts of agencies, advocates and support networks.”

Greysafe said it would continue to lobby the Federal Government on the need to toughen laws to protect older Australians suspected to be at risk, or the recipient, of elder abuse.  This includes making elder abuse a criminal offence.

“We also believe that besides the much needed elder abuse Knowledge Hub announced today by Senator Brandis, there is a critical need to create an ongoing national public awareness campaign, funded by government, on recognising the signs of elder abuse and how to help those at risk,” Mr Riley said.

“Greysafe believes the community has to help lead the efforts to weed out elder abuse perpetrators from behind the shadows and for our part, we’re developing our own community awareness initiative, Grey Armband Day, to help raise awareness of and uncover the hidden epidemic of elder abuse.”

“We’d welcome working with the Federal Government on making Grey Armband Day a flagship grass roots awareness program as part of a co-ordinated and proactive effort to engage the Australian community to be part of the solution in helping stamp out elder abuse in the community.”