Elder Abuse Awareness: Action Needed to Reduce Abuse in Aged Care Homes

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), is an opportunity to assess how far things have improved since the Aged Care Royal Commission delivered its frightening report on aged care. Sadly, there is still a long way to go.

In April of this year, Aged Care Watch handed in excess of 6500 reports of neglect and abuse over to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. Last week, it was revealed that reports of sexual abuse against aged care residents surpassed 500 in the last 3 months of 2021. These shocking figures act as a call to action for providers, regulators, legislators and the public to come together to protect our older Australians and ensure wherever they live is a safe place.

In order to make a difference and end the suffering of aged care resident victims, awareness and action are both needed. ALARM aims to bring transparency and accountability to the sector by providing aged care residents a voice so that their complaints are heard and interests are represented.

ALARM (Aged-Care Legal Advocacy and Reform Matter) is a not-for-profit charity created to educate aged care residents and their families and friends on their rights and to ensure that they have access to legal assistance and information. ALARM can connect aged care residents and their families to lawyers with aged care expertise. While the initial consultation with a lawyer is free for everyone, arrangements can be made for those who cannot afford ongoing legal assistance.

“We have found, sadly, that people living in aged care can feel isolated and frightened to complain about their care delivery or treatment,” says Dr Bryan Keon-Cohen AM QC, Founder and President of ALARM. “Often aged care residents may not even realise what they are experiencing is abuse. That’s why ALARM was created – to educate, empower and protect,” says Dr Keon-Cohen.

This WEAAD, we hope decision makers start to deliver action on improving the sector and that victims feel encouraged to reach out to those who can help, like ALARM.

If you are experiencing abuse or neglect in an aged care facility or know someone who is, you can contact ALARM for legal support and information.