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Confronting elder abuse in the community

A new resource to help community care workers identify and respond to elder abuse has been launched in Sydney.

Prepared by the Benevolent Society and the University of Melbourne’s Department of Social Work, the paper draws together current research in an easy-to-read format.

The Benevolent Society’s general manager of Ageing, Barbara Squires said community care workers are in a unique position to support older people who are vulnerable to abuse.

“Abuse can often be hidden and hard to spot,” she said. “Our aim is help those who work with older people in the community to recognise where abuse is occurring, and give them guidance on what to do if they suspect their client is being abused.”

Elder abuse refers to the mistreatment or exploitation of older people by someone they trust or depend on. It can take many forms, including physical, financial, emotional and sexual abuse and neglect.

The paper outlines a set of principles for responding to abuse, along with guidelines for supporting older people living in the community who are victims of abuse.

“Knowing how to support an older person who is being mistreated in some way is not easy or straightforward,” said Ms Squires.
“It is important to respect the views of the older person and the relationships that are important to them.”

The paper on elder abuse is the third document in a series of practice briefings produced by the Benevolent Society.

Previous briefings have covered the importance of social networks to the health and wellbeing of older people, and the day-to-day working practices of community aged care workers.

Click here to see the paper on elder abuse.

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