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January 29, 2009

Reported Cases of Elderly Abuse On the Rise (New Zealand)

Reported cases of elderly abuse on the rise

By KIM THOMAS

The Press

28 January 2009

 Suspected abuse and neglect of the elderly have risen by a third in just three years, new figures show.

The jump in notifications of abuse to social agency Age Concern has prompted calls for tougher sanctions against family members and caregivers who physically, financially or emotionally abuse the elderly.

During the 2007-08 financial year, Age Concern received almost 1500 notifications of suspected abuse or neglect nationwide. Of these, more than 700 were substantiated. The number of abuse and neglect notifications in 2005/06 was 1100. Six hundred of these cases were substantiated.

In the Canterbury region there has been a 40 per cent increase in the past year of concerned family members, friends and neighbours calling Age Concern about suspected abuse.

Age Concern elder abuse professional adviser Jayne McKendry said real levels of abuse and neglect were unknown. The elderly were often reluctant to report abusers, who in 80 per cent of cases were family members. Age Concern was working with the Families Commission and the Ministry of Social Development to raise awareness of issue.

Canterbury police family violence expert Sergeant Jim Sole said New Zealand was lagging behind the United States and Canada in its understanding and approach to abuse of the elderly. Those countries ran advertisements promoting awareness of elder abuse and encouraging people to report it, he said.

"In New Zealand we don't seem to acknowledge or identify it for what it is."

Police were sometimes made aware of elderly mothers being abused by their adult sons but it was very difficult to get the women to press charges and to compile evidence.


Abridged
SOURCE:     Stuff.co NZ
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DISCLAIMER

Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty.

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