By Paul Russell:
The Courier Mail newspaper reports a 19% increase in elderly Gold Coast residents seeking legal support for Elder Abuse accoprding to figures released by the Community Legal Centres Queensland (CLCQ).
The Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast were identified in a Parliamentary Report on Elder Abuse last year as two areas of Queensland that required particular attention because of the rise of Elder Abuse. The report does not speculate on why these areas in particular, but it seems likely that the trend over a number of decades now for people from the southern states in particular moving to these regions in their retirement is likely to present a number of policy problems over coming years - including Elder Abuse.
The the Elder Abuse Prevention Unit is also reporting a 20 per cent increase in reported cases of financial abuse from 2014-15 to 2015-16.
The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has an ongoing discussion and inquiry into Elder Abuse. A Discussion Paper was released in December with submissions closed on the 27th of February.
CLCQ director James Farrell said elder abuse was a new wave of violence and the Gold Coast. He outlined the insidious nature of the abuse:
"It is widely understood that one in four people don't report elder abuse due to shame, reliance on the abuser for care, love for the abuser, fear of being placed in aged care and fear of breaking up the family," he said.
"Many victims also suffer cognitive impairments such as dementia and are unable to provide clear and reliable evidence."
The very nature of the abuse and the reality that it is difficult to uncover in situations of continuous abuse should make parliamentarians take note when thinking of euthanasia and assisted suicide.
That such abuse is often undetected is a red flag and should warn legislators not to put in place laws that create the possibility of such abuse.