Importance of reporting abuse highlighted on awarness day
WITH Worldwide Elder Abuse Awareness Day today the Vulnerable Persons Unit has highlighted the importance of reporting elder abuse.
Officer in Charge of the Wide Bay Burnett District Vulnerable Persons Unit, Senior Sergeant Tanya Walters said in 2015 a report from the National Ageing Research Institute found 70 per cent of older women between the ages of 65 and 89 years were victims of financial abuse with 39 per cent of victims living with the perpetrator.
Sen Sgt Walters further noted that psychological and emotional abuse was the second most commonly reported matter with 79 per cent of the victims being female and just over half of the female victims living with the perpetrator.
Despite the staggering statistics, Sen Sgt Walters said in 2019 the Council of Attorneys-General found most times offenders and society did not recognise the behaviour as abuse.
Sen Sgt Walters said while most offences committed were criminal offences which could be reported and investigated by the police, many went unreported.
“There is a range of reasons why elder abuse is not reported, including fear or reprisals, misunderstanding of what is occurring is wrong and a perceived need to maintain care relationships,” she said.
“Where a relevant relationship exists, and domestic violence has occurred under the provisions of the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (QLD), police can make an application for a Domestic and Family Violence Order to protect the elderly victim and hold the perpetrator accountable.”
As the OIC of the VPU, Sen Sgt Walters said the unit played an important role in the community.
“The Wide Bay Burnett District VPU’s purpose is to improve the policing response and service delivery to members in our community experiencing a wide range of circumstances making them vulnerable,” she said.
“The Unit’s focus is early intervention and prevention of recidivism of violence and crime against victims.
“The QPS encourages victims of Elder Abuse or witnesses to Elder Abuse to report concerns and or criminal complaint to police to initiate an investigation and keep our community safe.”