The original article was here.
Age Concern Auckland CEO Kevin Lambs response is below:
Elder Abuse something we all must fight
It was disappointing to read in the recent opinion article from Stephen Taylor that he thinks Age Concern is a state funded echo chamber that does not take complaints of elder abuse seriously.
As the CEO of Age Concern Auckland I know this is simply not the case and that his comments are far from reality. Firstly, and very briefly, to say we are a state funded organisation is simply not correct. Age Concern receives only partial funding from the government, (so, you are state funded – ed) however, to deliver the services and essential support we provide we rely on the generosity of the community.
Secondly, and far more importantly, we investigate all elder abuse complaints we receive. (No you don’t. I have evidence that you don’t. What you do is offer simpering faux-empathy, and then admit that your organisation has no powers to meaningfully investigate complaints, or effect any sanctions – you are just a complaints echo chamber-ed). In the last 12 months our dedicated team of specialist Elder Abuse Response Workers supported 617 older people across Auckland to address the abuse they were experiencing. We worked closely with a plethora of organisations including New Zealand Police, banks, lawyers, doctors and many others during this process. All of us working for the same goal of stopping the abuse and protecting the older person involved.
Unfortunately, the reality is that Elder abuse is a complex and frequently hidden problem, that occurs far too often. An analysis of data from the New Zealand Longitudinal Study of Ageing concluded that 10% of the population aged over 65 years who are living in the community experience abuse. However, it is estimated that only 1 in 14 of all abuse incidents come to the attention of a service agency, like Age Concern, that can intervene to help stop the abuse. (Age Concern has no powers of intervention, which is why 75% of people with a complaint don’t contact you – they already know that Age Concern has no ability whatsoever to help them – ed).This is for a variety of reasons but not least because in 4 out of 5 cases of Elder Abuse the offender is a family member of the victim.
I wholeheartedly agree that more has to be done to protect older members of our community from elder abuse and we need to stop it. How do we do that? A first step, is if you see abuse, speak out against it.
Elder Abuse can be a very sensitive and distressing matter to speak openly about, but I encourage everyone in the community to be aware of the risk factors and speak out if they are experiencing abuse or are concerned that someone they know is. Age Concern will listen to your concerns, and we will look at what can be done to assist (This admission confirms my original premise -you have no agency powers whatsoever – ed). We must work together to protect the older members of our community.
We are appreciative of Stephen raising this important issue. (No you’re not – you’re embarrassed that I have raised the issue, and you are now scrambling to protect your service brand in the public space -ed). It is a matter that needs and deserves a far higher level of public dialogue. Age Concern Auckland actively works to support all those who need our help and we are thankful to the community for their support in assisting us to do this.
If you have any concerns about Elder Abuse you can speak confidentially to Age Concern Auckland by calling us on 09 820 0184.
CEO Age Concern Auckland
Fundraising & Communications Manager
Age Concern Auckland Incorporated
PO Box 19542, Avondale, Auckland 1026
57 Rosebank Road, Avondale
Mob: 021 120 5989 Fax: +64 9 8281660
email: AlexisS@ageconak.org.nz I www.ageconcernauckland.org.nz
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