Revelations today that more than 5700 reports of elder abuse were made to Victoria Police in the 12 months to March are disturbing and disappointing.
Adding context to what is an alarming rise, the number of reports to police has jumped 40 per cent in the past five years.
It comes after the Andrews government announced in June that the state-funded Integrated Model of Care (IMOC), which provided for elder abuse prevention workers around the state, would not be funded beyond August 19.
Shadow Minister for Disability and Aged Care, Tim Bull, has called on the Andrews Labor government to do more to quell the growing problem.
“It is extremely disappointing the Andrews Labor government has not reversed the cuts it made to elder abuse services announced – ironically in Elder Abuse Week,” Mr Bull said.
“These cuts to the IMOC ended services that were not only in high demand, but had significant waiting lists. They needed expansion, not cutting.”
There have been claims the rise in numbers equates to a rise in awareness and the prevalence of more reporting.
“Claims this is solely an increase in reporting, rather than an increase in occurrences is overlooking the likely fact there are elements of both,” Mr Bull said.
“However, regardless of which it is, or a combination, the reality is we are becoming aware of more instances of elder abuse.”
Financial strain on families has been raised as a potential factor in the jump in reports.
“The admission that cost-of-living pressures is resulting in increased elder abuse does lend itself to the fact that elder abuse generally is on the increase,” Mr Bull said.
Examples of elder abuse include forcing an elderly person to change their will, assault or threatening harm or failing to provide basic necessities.