Protecting Cairns seniors from elder abuse
1 June 2022
Protecting older Queenslanders in the Cairns region from elder abuse is first on the agenda at the Cairns Regional Stakeholder Forum.
Local experts, frontline responders and sector professionals came together today to consider issues relating to elder abuse and what further can be done to protect the older members of the Cairns community.
The Elder Abuse Prevention Unit identified 6.4 percent more calls to the Elder Abuse Hotline than expected during the 2020-21 financial year, with 76.9 percent of all Cairns calls relating to financial abuse of an older person.
The data will help support the exploration of the issue for the region in more detail, consider how to best raise awareness, and ensure the people of the Cairns are supported to report suspicion of abuse.
The Public Trustee and CEO, Samay Zhouand, said the community is best placed to identify local issues that lead to the best outcomes for the community.
“We know that taking local approaches, with the support of the community, provides the best opportunity for the sector to deliver focused solutions to the issues,” he said.
“There may be many instances of abuse going under the radar in the Cairns region.
“We know that many cases of elder abuse go unreported, particularly due to the complex and intimate relationships between the older person and perpetrator.
“Sadly, most cases of elder abuse are perpetrated by a trusted individual of the older person, such as a direct family member, close friend, caregiver or the older person’s attorney.
“The Public Trustee hopes to identify and discuss effective ways of working together at a local level to address important issues relating to elder abuse, and how to strengthen prevention strategies and support services in the local area.
“Local leaders, service providers and professionals are committed to preventing and protecting older people from abuse in the Cairns region.
“It’s our hope that, through strong collaboration, we will facilitate further opportunities for improvements to awareness, services and policies regarding elder abuse in our community,” Mr Zhouand said.
The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Shannon Fentiman, said the forum brings together professionals from across the region.
“Elder abuse has devastating impacts on some of our most vulnerable Queenslanders,” she said.
“The Regional Stakeholder Forum is a fantastic opportunity to hear from experts who are committed to preventing elder abuse and discuss how we can best protect seniors in the local Cairns community.”
The Cairns forum is part of a series discussions led by the Public Trustee across Queensland.