abused, too

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					                                                  Altona Laverton Mail                                                  Brief: TRUSTEES
                                                  Wednesday 15/7/2009
                                                  Page: 7
                                                  Section: General News
                                                  Region: Melbourne Circulation: 17,808
                                                  Type: Suburban
                                                  Size: 118.49 sq.cms.
                                                  Published: --W----




Elderly are
abused, too
THE word 'abuse' is more often         Hilda told the social worker     annuation accounts cleaned           are two to three times more
than not a term connected to        she never left the house, was       out and misuse of Hilda's aged       vulnerable than men and are
violence, drugs and alcohol,        not allowed to answer the door      pension, allegedly by her            abused by sons or daughter
but a recent study has found a      or even use the telephone.          daughter.                            who appear close to them," Mr
different form of abuse: elderly       Hilda also alleged that her         Hilda is now living at an         Cowell said.
abuse.                              daughter became annoyed             aged-care centre in the west           "In Hilda's case, we found
  Hilda, a long-time Footscray      when Hilda injured herself in       and is totally reliant on her        out she had been financially
resident, is an example of such     the bathroom fall and ended up      pension to cover the cost.           stripped of her assets in what
abuse. Had it not been for a        in the Western Hospital.               State Trustees client relations   was a complex crime that was
stay in hospital following a fall      Authorities were contacted       manager Steve Cowell said            difficult to trace."
in her home, the problem may        after the social worker received    Hilda was only one of many             State Trustees will sponsor a
have gone unnoticed.                the complaint. Following a VCAT     elderly people who suffered          three-year research project by
  It was during her hospital stay    hearing, State Trustees were       financial abuse at the hands of      Monash University on financial
that Hilda's tale of woe was        asked to manage Hilda's             a son or daughter.                   abuse of the elderly, with find-
uncovered during a meeting          financial and legal affairs.           "At present we only have          ings expected to be presented
she had with a social worker.          State Trustees then              anecdotal evidence and there         in 2011.
  Hilda, a widow, was until         discovered a number of              is no mandatory reporting in
recently being cared for by her     disturbing financial trans-         place.                                                      Lina Mesiti
middle-aged daughter, who,          actions that included transfer of      "However, the evidence we
she alleged, mistreated her.        property ownership, super-          do have shows older women




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