Conference Abstracts

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Can indicators enable abuse prevention and effective response?

McDonald, T. A., 2018

Elder Abuse Conference, Sydney, Australia

ABSTRACT

Background: The maltreatment of ‘elderly people’ was identified in 2011 (WHO) as a global public health issue. Little was known then about the scope of this activity because of older people’s reluctance, for many reasons, to report being abused. Over the past 5 years research interest in elder abuse prevention has produced useful insights on factors that enable resilience and deter abuse in certain circumstances. Older people face practical disadvantages associated with overcoming socially normalised ageist attitudes. Inaccurate portrayals that stereotype and demonise older people create an environment that enables abusers to mistreat older people. The result is a widespread undermining of the human and civil rights of those who are subsequently abused. The hidden nature of the abuses that occur further encourages abusers to continue with impunity.

Methods and results: An understanding of factors that contribute to abuse risk can inform interventions in situations where the older person depends upon others for assistance with care and basic needs. Systematic assessment of the person and the family, friends and resources that surround them can guide sensitive engagement by front-line personnel in preventing or responding to abuse.

Conclusions: This presentation also draws on an analysis of anonymous calls made to the NSW Elder Abuse Prevention Resource and Help Line over a 3-year period. While it is not possible to use this information to establish prevalence data or to establish a profile of abuse types or abusers, insights on circumstances surrounding older people that prompt someone to call and report their suspicions of abuse are possible.

CITATION McDonald, T. (2018) Can indicators enable abuse prevention and effective response? 5th National Elder Abuse Conference Together Making Change. Sofitel Sydney Wentworth 19-20 February. Sydney

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