MORE than 200 people ranging from teenage school students to grandparents strode simultaneously through Launceston and Hobart streets recently in COTA Tasmania’s annual Walk Against Elder Abuse.
The walks were organised by COTA to acknowledge international World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which was held in June.
The Hobart walk was bolstered by the presence of dozens of high school students from Ogilvie and Kingston high schools, who walked the streets singing, carrying banners and spreading the word that intergenerational respect also helped stop elder abuse at its source.
“These passionate people walked with us in Hobart and Launceston because they want everyone to know that there is no excuse for elder abuse, but just as importantly, there’s no excuse for ignoring elder abuse,” COTA Tasmania chief executive officer Sue Leitch said.
Walk participants displayed special banners with important messages about the most common forms of elder abuse.
This included misusing enduring powers of attorney, denying social contact, failing to look after frail old people, and sexual and physical abuse.
Mrs Leitch said increased awareness of elder abuse must be accompanied by increased action by all stakeholders.
“We all have a job to do in protecting older Tasmanians through policy change and legislation, and fostering a community-wide shift in our attitudes to age and ageing,” she said.
“But change doesn’t happen overnight.
“In the case of elder abuse, enduring solutions will not be found without long-term, meaningful commitments at every level of government.
“COTA was pleased to see the State Government’s commitment in the recent State Budget for the additional $850,000 in funding for the elder abuse prevention strategy.
“Public events like the Walk Against Elder Abuse help make change happen, as citizens and governments join together to show they care and insist that others notice that there is a problem with elder abuse and at a more visceral level, ageism in general.
“We must help the community recognise that action is necessary and such action and support really can change lives.”
Caption: Dignitaries lead the way in the recent COTA Tasmania Walk Against Elder Abuse.