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Free helpline launched to report elder abuse

Posted on 13 July 2017 at 3:17pm by Disabilities Resource Centre, Southland

Age Concern Southland is backing a new Elder Abuse Response Service (EARS) launched this month.

EARS will take the form of a 24/7 free helpline.

Age Concern Southland manager Janette Turner said she hoped the confidential service would encourage more people to report elder abuse in the Southland community.

Ms Turner said she did not believe the statistics for Southland were any worse than for other areas but rather they reflected an “extremely good networking system here in Southland”. “People know where to come to and who to ring.”

Age Concern New Zealand statistics show about 70,000 New Zealanders over the age of 65 are abused each year, with about 75% of alleged abusers being family members.

“Its critical we help older New Zealanders live a life free from harm and the need for such a service will only increase as the older population grows.  Its not acceptable to have our older population living in fear.”

Age Concern provided support and after-care through social connection programmes vital to the recovery and rebuilding of self-esteem for those who had suffered abuse, lost trust or became isolated, she said.

Anyone concerned about elder abuse or neglect can contact Age Concern Southland, at 50 Forth Street, Invercargill, phone 218 6351.

Alternatively they can now contact the 24/7 EARS helpline on 0800 32 668 65 (0800 EA NOT OK).

Abridged, taken from Southland Express, July 13, 2017.

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