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National elder abuse peak body given green light

The Turnbull government has announced it will fund a national elder abuse prevalence study, increased training for professionals and the public and a new elder abuse peak body.

The initiatives, which were announced on the International Day of Older Persons on 1 October, are part of the Coalition’s $15 million election pledge last year to address the problem of elder abuse.

Attorney-General George Brandis said a national peak body, Elder Abuse Action Australia, will be established to support the national coordination and advocacy of issues related to prevention of elder abuse. The new organisation will receive $250,000 over two years.

Since late 2015, members of the Older Persons Legal Services Network and the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) have been calling on the government to establish a national entity.

Senator Brandis said the new peak body would provide policy expertise to governments and help foster collaboration and sharing of information in this area.

Elder Abuse Action Australia will also have a role in the creation of a new “online gateway”, which will provide training and information to professionals and the general public on responding to and preventing abuse.

The government is also providing $590,000 to the Australian Institute of Family Studies to undertake a research study to understand the “nature, scale and scope” of elder abuse in Australia.

The research will be conducted in collaboration with the National Ageing Research Institute, the Social Research Centre (ANU) and the Social Policy Research Centre (UNSW).

The government will also sponsor the fifth National Elder Abuse Conference in 2018, Senator Brandis said.

“Elder abuse is a problem that requires individuals, communities, governments, civil society and the private sector to work together to better protect older Australians,” he said.

An elder abuse working group is currently considering the recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission report on elder abuse and will report back to state, territory and federal ministers later this year, said Mr Brandis.

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