5th National Elder Abuse Conference – Elder abuse identification in CALD communities

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Elder abuse affects at least 5% of Australians – that’s more than 182,000 people. Elder abuse takes many forms including financial, psychological, physical and sexual abuse, and neglect and crosses all socio-economic and cultural borders. Fortis PICACWA were proudly represented by our National Director Mary Gurgone at the 5th National Elder Abuse Conference “Together Making Change” held by Senior Rights Service in February 2018. Mary was part of a panel regarding Elder Abuse identification in #CALD Communities: diverse responses.

The panel discussed and reviewed case studies regarding issues such as cultural beliefs, lack of data aggregation, barriers to CALD communities accessing services, language barriers and many more. The panellists provided insights and information regarding the work that has been conducted in communities throughout Australia and how #cultural needs differ.

“What I think we need to do is stop blaming the victim and as a mainstream culture start placing value on language and culture, interpreters and translators. The government needs to understand while CALD elders may be abused due to language issues, it is not only ethical and nice to have, it actually costs not to do it.”

As part of the 5th National Elder Abuse Conference ‘Together Making Change’ a final statement for call to action by all governments was developed and endorsed by the delegates at the closing plenary.

“Come together to create and fully resource the strong, effective, nationally consistent and accountable change needed to:
Create respectful cultures that value older people within our diverse country and communities (a whole of community shift) to prevent an epidemic of abuse against older people
Deliver early intervention and empower older people, support and safeguard those older persons experiencing abuse. Involve older people and all the key stakeholders in developing the National Plan to address Elder Abuse to ensure all older people experience dignity, their rights and personal well-being as a daily way of life.”

The high level themes that were identified underpinning the final statement include:
• ALL older people deserve respect, autonomy and personal well being
• Make it a ‘Call to Action’ to all Governments
• Nationwide action required
• Older people must be involved
• Key stakeholders must be involved
• Action must be joint, comprehensive, nationally consistent, outcomes focused and accountable
• More resources required for both ‘support’ and ‘intervention’
• Must include prevention, early intervention, crisis support and safeguarding

To read more about the themes of the final statement please click here

To find out more about the Fortis PICACWA program please click here