Specialist police unit introduced to combat elder abuse in NSW
Elder abuse is sadly on the rise, with a 50 per cent increase in reports of cases to a New South Wales Police Force hotline over a 12 month period.
As a result, Vulnerable Community Support Officers have been introduced and are working in Local Area Commands (LAC) to check on the welfare of older people.
Deniliquin LAC support officer, Inspector Steve Worthington, says that many older Australians feel as though they are being taken advantage of, even by their own families. This is where the support officers can step in to help.
"We're happy to take the initial call, see what sort of assistance these people need and if needed, we can refer those people on," he said.
"Apparently there have been around 3,000 calls since the hotline was established in 2013, which is a 50 per cent increase on the previous year."
For those living alone, Inspector Worthington says advice on improving home security can also be given.
"Increasing the security on their doors or window locks," he said. "If there are deadlocks installed, make sure you leave the keys inside the door, not the outside of the door. Installing proper lighting, so there's sensor lighting that comes on. Visibility around the house, keep your trees and shrubs trimmed. There are a number of things we are able to provide in relation to information."
The Elder Abuse Hotline number is 1800 628 221. They offers information, advice and referrals for people who experience, witness or suspect the abuse of older people living in their homes in NSW.
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