Catholic Health urged Govt to broaden elderly abuse policy

Compulsory reporting of abuse of the aged should cover psychological as well as physical and sexual abuse, says Catholic Health Australia CEO Francis Sullivan.

Mr Sullivan told the ABC that the Government's recently announced policy requiring aged-care workers to report suspected physical and sexual abuse does not go far enough.

The new policy, which is among a raft of reforms following a series of nursing home abuse scandals, will start from next April.

Mr Sullivan said psychological abuse can also have a devastating impact on victims and should be treated on the same level as sexual and physical abuse, adding that the Church has already extended its compulsory reporting to include this form of abuse.

"We're saying that, as professionals, you need to be mindful of how you relate to people," he added.

"Because if [people] are emotionally vulnerable [they] are going to be more at risk of feeling abused and undermined and their dignity and respect is not being given due regard."

"We should be looking at broadening the definition," he said.

"I encourage other church groups involved with aged care, other charitable groups, to seriously consider broadening their own definition, putting in place their own protocols so that residents will feel safe and secure and I'm sure the government would encourage that."

Mr Sullivan was speaking during the annual conference of Catholic Health Australia in Melbourne this week.

Govt urged to extend policy on aged abuse (ABC, 30/8/06)
Catholic Health Australia, National Conference 2006

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Health Australia

Catholic Health supports aged care abuse report plan (CathNews, 11/4/06)

31 Aug 2006