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Last week June 15 was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD).

A number of Australian older persons’ peak bodies and advocacy groups are putting the spotlight on elder abuse through a few different campaigns and events.

Elder Abuse is an act towards an older person that will cause harm and is carried out by someone they know, like a family member or friend. Abuse that falls under elder abuse includes physical, social, financial, psychological, sexual, mistreatment, and neglect.

Seniors Rights Victoria is urging all Victorians to accept that ‘Elder abuse is everybody’s business’. The advocacy and information service encourages people to hold a Stir a Cuppa for Seniors event in their local community, which aims to bring Victorians together to talk about elder abuse. A range of local events, including seminars and special morning teas, are listed on the Senior Rights Website.

Manager at Seniors Rights Victoria, Rebecca Edwards, says that these events are pivotal to unpacking the difficult topic with older Victorians.

“Conversations tend to start organically and robustly around a cuppa and we want to nurture that notion when it comes to the issues around elder abuse,” explains Ms Edwards.

Kay Patterson, the Age Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission, launched a special campaign for WEAAD called ‘Inheritance: Not an entitlement’ with the Respecting Seniors Network which focuses on ageism as a driver for elder abuse.

“Elder abuse can start with ‘benevolent ageism’; where attitudes tip the scales towards protection and away from respect for an older person’s independence and autonomy. When taken to an extreme, these attitudes can result in elder abuse, leading to real harm to the older person,” explains Commissioner Patterson.

“Ageism undermines the human rights of older Australians and is an obstacle to achieving a fair and equal society which respects and recognises the inherent rights of everyone.

“This idea of counteracting ageism and promoting respect for seniors similarly drives the work of the Respecting Seniors Network and is a key part of their strategy for preventing elder abuse in the community.”

The campaign includes seven short film clips, exploring the issue of inheritance impatience or entitlement that often leads to financial elder abuse.

Full story by Liz Alderslade below.