Cases of elder abuse increasing

The number of cases of elder abuse and neglect referred to Age Concern Otago continues to rise, those working for the organisation say.

Executive officer Susan Davidson told those at Age Concern Otago's annual meeting the issue was becoming more common.

More than 130 cases were referred to the Dunedin Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention service last year, which was up on the about 100 from the previous year.

''We find it very troubling,'' she said.

''We still think we only see the tip of the iceberg.''

The organisation received a grant of $10,000 from the Otago Community Trust last week to help counter elder abuse and neglect in Dunedin and Central Otago.

Age Concern Otago social worker Marie Bennett said Age Concern was desperate for funding to help with the issue.

The group previously had funding to employ a second social worker. However, it had lost that funding and sometimes needed to prioritise clients.

''Financial abuse is huge,'' she said.

''I was visiting a lady last week who . . . said 'I have $30 for the fortnight because my son took it all, but I'm not going to take him to the police'. A lot of financial abuse is theft - we just don't label it as such.''

About 10% of all victims were aged over 90 and 80% of abusers were family members, she said.

• If anyone is concerned for themselves or a friend or family member they can contact Age Concern Otago on (03) 477-1040.

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