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White Ribbon relay helps fight domestic violence
16 Nov 2015

Already the White Ribbon relay event has become a firm favourite on the calendar for many New Plymouth people.

Grant Coward says elder abuse rife in Taranaki
15 Jun 2015

Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

Sadly, it could just as easily be subtitled "and Taranaki's got nothing to be proud of".

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Elder abuse a hidden problem: Tui Ora
12th June 2015

Elder abuse is a hidden problem and one that is expected to get worse as the population ages.

Elder abuse is a hidden problem and one that is expected to get worse as the population ages. 

Tui Ora Elder Protection Service coordinator David Lloyd receives at least one referral a week and all the cases he's dealt with - since starting in the job in March - involved family members, with abuse centred on financial issues.    

"But 99 per cent of the time they don't want any action to be taken. They know it's not right but because it's a family member they live with it."   

On average 85 per cent of elder abuse is carried out by family members, he said.

"And only 10 to 15 per cent is reported."

The Elder Protection Service at Tui Ora and Taranaki Safe Families Trust have joined forces to hold a free seminar in South Taranaki with former senior police detective, turned New Plymouth District councillor Grant Coward the guest speaker. 

Lloyd said people didn't have to have been victims of elder abuse to go to the meeting. They may know someone, or may meet someone in the future who is, he said.

"I tell people not to let the fear of meddling in someone's life stop you reporting it."

The most common form of elder abuse is to do with finances, Lloyd said. "The majority is bullying the elderly person to access their financials."

This includes adult children, aged from about 40 to 60, living with their parents and not paying board or contributing to the running of the home. 

 

"They are taking advantage of their elderly parents."

As the population ages the problem is going to get worse, he said.

Some people are selling the family home and going into a rest home to get away from their son or daughter, because they can't get them to move out.

The Elder Protection Service is free and confidential, although it's not a crisis intervention service and anyone in immediate risk should seek police help, Lloyd said.    

"Don't be afraid and think you are meddling in someone else's life. Don't be afraid to contact our services and ask for advice." 

Taranaki Safe Families Trust co-ordinator Callum Williamson said figures indicate more than half the calls to the New Plymouth police are domestic violence related. 

"No one wants to hurt their own family but the reality is, a lot of hurt and harm comes from family members."   

The best words to use for a neighbour, friend or relative who might be the victim of abuse are as simple as saying "Are you Ok?", he said.

The free seminar is on Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Monday June 15  at the South Taranaki District Council community centre in Albion St, Hawera from 1.30 to 3.30pm.

For information contact 06 759 4064 or 0800 0800 47