Putting elder abuse in the spotlight on the Sunshine Coast
24 May 2022
Elder abuse prevention in the Sunshine Coast region will be the focus for the Public Trustee as local experts are brought together to discuss this important issue.
The Public Trustee will lead a discussion with frontline professionals, key service providers and academics, to consider issues relating to elder abuse and what further can be done to protect some of the most vulnerable members of the community.
The Regional Stakeholder Forum, being held in Caloundra, is part of a series of forums that will bring key stakeholders together to consider collaborative options and improvements on how best to support local communities in the prevention of elder abuse.
The Elder Abuse Prevention Unit identified 19.8 percent fewer calls to the Elder Abuse Hotline than expected during the 2020-21 financial year.
This could indicate a need for increased community awareness in the region.
The data will help support the Public Trustee and local experts to explore the issue for the region in more detail, and consider how to best raise awareness and ensure the people of the Sunshine Coast are supported to report suspicions of abuse.
The Public Trustee and CEO Samay Zhouand said taking a place-based approach to local issues leads 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.
“The data raises concerns that there may be many instances of abuse going under the radar in the Sunshine Coast 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, trusted friend, caregiver or the older person’s attorney”, he said.
Data recorded by the Elder Abuse Prevention Unit suggests that in the Sunshine Coast region, more than half of the perpetrators of elder abuse or exploitation live with the victim.
“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 Sunshine Coast 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.