Elder abuse a growing form of family violence in Qld homes
IT'S sadly not uncommon to hear of child abuse or domestic abuse.
Many people wouldn't blink an eye lid at the mention of alcohol or drug abuse.
But despite 30,000 Queenslanders over 65 likely to experience elder abuse each year, the increasing and disturbing trend is largely under recognised.
Last financial year the Queensland Elder Abuse Prevention Unit recorded 1000 abuse notifications regarding seniors who had been abused, including financially, physically or psychologically or neglected.
About 66% of the victims experienced financial abuse, including from their own children.
Elder Abuse Prevention Unit co-ordinator Les Jackson said the common target in financial abuse was the family home.
"Its a real problem as for the elderly person that gets ripped off as that is the money put away for their health and wellbeing in their old age," he said.
"When that goes, they are pretty much stuffed."
Mr Jackson said while finacial abuse was recorded in 66% of cases in 2011-2012, only 31 victims knew how much had been taken from them - $3.8 million altogether.
That left 500 instances of finacial abuse unaccounted for in the total sum.
Saturday15/6 marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and the introduction of a State Government campaign driving greater understanding.
Communities Minister Tracy Davis said elder abuse was any act within a trusting relationship resulting in an older person's harm.
"Sadly, it's likely the actual number of older people being abused across our state is higher, as many cases go unreported due to very little community awareness and victims being too scared or ashamed to speak out," she said.
Mr Jackson said it was not only the community unfamiliar with the type of abuse, but the victims themselves.
"Elder abuse is a form of family violence but a lot of the time people just think 'I have to put up with this as its family business'," he said.
He provided examples where middle-aged children with relationship problems or addictions would return to live with their older parents borrow tens of thousands of money and then refuse to give the money back.
Mr Jackson recommended always getting an agreement in writing if a large sum was to be lent.
Elder Abuse Helpline 1300 651 192.