Age Concern New Zealand is backing a new Elder Abuse Response Service (Ears) launched on July 1.
Chief executive Stephanie Clare says it is critical that older New Zealanders are helped live a life free from harm.
“It’s not acceptable to have our older population living in fear and Age Concerns is here to help in communities across New Zealand,” Ms Clare says.
It is estimated that 70,000 people over 65 are abused each year in New Zealand and Age Concern statistics show that 75 per cent of alleged abusers are family members.
“Our Age Concern members are pivotal in helping older people live safe lives. We are in communities among older people every day – we know how to spot signs of abuse or neglect and how to support people through such a difficult and shocking experience.”
Age Concern branches provide support and aftercare through social connection programmes that are vital to the recovery and rebuilding of the self-esteem of those who have suffered abuse, lost trust or become isolated.
The Office for Seniors took over the elder abuse prevention and education role from Age Concern New Zealand in July with the launch of a free and confidential 24/7 help-line at 0800 32 668 65.