A Filipino Advisory Group was formed by the Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV) to raise awareness of elder abuse and prevention including culturally-appropriate education for the Filipino community. The first meeting, held last 1 August 2013 at ECCV Resource Centre in Carlton, was attended by 20 representatives from 12 Filipino community groups and the media (SBS Radio and The Philippine Times).
The group will provide advice to ECCV on how to increase awareness of elder abuse in the Filipino community. The inputs of the group will assist ECCV on how to formulate awareness and prevention programs for elder abuse. A printed information material will also be distributed to the Filipino seniors for reference.
Despite Filipinos’ high respect and caring attitude for the elderly, the group reported that there are actual cases of elder abuse in the Filipino community. Elder abuse by its proper definition may seem to be non-existent or a taboo topic to be discussed in Filipino homes. Unfortunately, there are cases of abuse in various degrees and forms and even the seniors themselves might not know they are inflicted by people they know and trust such as family members or friends.
Fiona York, Seniors Project Officer of ECCV, said Filipino seniors should be educated and informed about their rights and if abuse is present. Cases of family members regularly yelling at seniors, a family member misusing an elderly’s pension, or an elderly being forced to go to a nursing home are some examples of mistreatment that can potentially affect the well being of an elderly. Sadly the victims themselves keep silent to avoid breaking family relationships or cause embarrassment outside the home.
Gary Ferguson, Community Education Coordinator of Senior Rights Victoria (SRV), explained that there are many types of abuse: emotional abuse (using threats or harassment), financial abuse (controlling one’s pension), social abuse (preventing contact with friends or relatives), neglect (failing to provide basic necessities of life), physical abuse (inflicting pain by hitting or pushing), or sexual abuse (any sexual activity without consent).
Senior Rights Victoria provides information, support, advice and education to help seniors combat abuse. Services include 24-hour helpline (with Filipino staff), free legal service, support and advocacy and community education.
ECCV started the three-year Elder Abuse Project in 2012, in partnership with SRV. Its aim is “to empower, inform and resource culturally-diverse seniors and ethnic community support services, by raising awareness about seniors’ rights and elder abuse prevention, including the role of Seniors Rights Victoria and how to access this and other supports.”
Other photos during the meeting.
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