Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Elder Abuse Conference: Tougher Laws Needed.

This article was written by Paul Russell, Vice Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition International and published on the HOPE Australia blog on June 17.

Paul Russell
By Paul Russell

Adelaide, South Australia is currently hosting the 2nd National World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Conference being held at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

Dean of Law at the University of South Australia Professor Wendy Lacey warned conference delegates that older people are sometimes abused by family members and often for financial reasons. Lacey added that tighter laws are needed to help protect older Australians from such exploitation.

The conference was also exposed to South Australia’s new draft Charter of the Rights and Freedoms of Older People.

Professor Lacey also told the ABC News that:

"The first step we need to do is raising the community's awareness and understanding of what is elder abuse and what are the signs of the abuse and then what we need is a system-wide response framework that enables anyone to make a phone call, which would then trigger an investigation by agencies. 
"Our criminal laws are currently inadequate or there's a lack of awareness around how they might apply in cases of elder abuse and so therefore we're not seeing the prosecutions coming forward."

Former South Australian Thinker in Residence, Dr Alex Kalache of the International Longevity Centre says the area has been overlooked for too long.
"Today we have a UN convention for the rights of women, children, immigrant workers, disabled people, you name it. The only one missing is older people which happens to be the fastest grown sub-group throughout the world. It doesn't make sense," he said.
Elder Abuse is a significant and growing problem across the globe. The fact that elderly persons can so easily be abused in so many different ways, especially for financial gain, is a cogent reason for opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide.

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