Elder abuse

What is Elder Abuse?

‘Elder Abuse is a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring in any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.’

Adopted from the WHO Toronto Declaration on the Global Prevention of Elder Abuse, 2002.

This definition includes situations of neglect by a person who could reasonably be expected to meet the needs of the older person, but it does not include self-neglect.

The six commonly identified categories of elder abuse are: psychological, financial, physical, institutional, neglect, or sexual. In Nelson Tasman we see around 100 people each year dealing with abuse. The majority of these cases are financial and of that, approximately three-quarters are by family members.

Age Concern Nelson Tasman’s Elder Abuse Response service provides information, support, advocacy and advice to older people and their families/whanau to prevent elder abuse and neglect, and also coordinate intervention services when abuse or neglect is identified. We work very closely and collaboratively with many support agencies across the region including police, social workers, home-based support services, lawyers and government agencies. This video from the New Zealand Office of Seniors tells you more.

What if you suspect elder abuse?

Tell someone – we advocate speaking out if you think someone is being abused or you’re worried about them. If the abuse occurs in your workplace, report it immediately to your supervisor. You may be uncomfortable reporting the abuse, especially if the abuser is someone you know; but the safety and wellbeing of the older person is the most important consideration. If the abuse is occurring in the community, please contact us on 03 544 7624, or email this address.