The Australian Human Rights Commission has launched an elder abuse awareness campaign marking International Day of Older Persons.

Kay Patterson

Themed around the concept of ‘open your eyes to elder abuse’, the centrepiece of the campaign is a confronting video in which older people talk about their experience of abuse in their own voices.

The campaign highlights the ‘red flag phrases’ that can often indicate an older person is experiencing elder abuse.

Before COVID-19, between two and 14 per cent of older Australians experienced elder abuse in any given year, according to the Australian Institute of Family studies.

Financial abuse is the most common form. 

View the video here.

The Commission says there are concerns COVID-19 has heightened the risk of elder abuse. 

Human rights scourge

“Elder abuse is a human rights scourge that has no place in our community,” Age Discrimination Commissioner Dr Kay Patterson said in a statement.

“Social isolation is a driver of elder abuse – and the COVID-19 pandemic has increased social isolation for many older people.

Financial pressures on adult children related coronavirus are also driving financial abuse, she said, describing the pandemic as a “perfect storm”.

“We all need to know the signs of elder abuse and understand that it can happen to any older person, regardless of their background or lifestyle,” Ms Patterson said.

“I hope this campaign helps more people to recognise the red flags’.”

October 1 marks the International Day of Older Persons.

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