Elder abuse a blight on Wyndham

By Alesha Capone

Police have recorded hundreds of crimes committed against elderly people in Wyndham in a 12-month period, with the majority of offences flagged as family violence.

Between July last year and June this year, there were 305 crimes committed against people aged 65 or older in Wyndham (compared to 315 crimes in the previous 12 months).

Of the 305 crimes, 270 were classified as being in the category of family violence, according to the state’s Crime Statistics Agency.

The crimes included 130 thefts, 77 burglaries/breaking-and-entering, 40 instances of property damage and 34 assaults and related offences.

The agency last month released a study into the number of crimes committed against Victoria’s senior citizens in the 10 years to December, 2017.

In that time, there were 141,550 crimes committed against the state’s elderly residents, with a total of 2033 crimes against the person, including homicides, assaults, sexual assaults and robberies.

Of the 2033 crimes, 30.4 per cent were committed by family members. The perpetrator was known to the victim in more than 62 per cent of cases.

Wyndham police Inspector Marty Allison said elder abuse was “a real issue right across the state and right across Australia”.

Inspector Allison said that anecdotally, family violence against senior citizens was often perpetrated by adult children aged in their 40s to 60s, sometimes with mental illness involved. He said such abuse was likely to continue if there was no intervention by law enforcement or a support agency.

“A lot of victims of assault within the family home, by their children, are very reluctant to report it because they don’t want to get their children in strife,” Inspector Allison said.

He encouraged anyone concerned about elder abuse to contact police or an agency such as Women’s Health West.

For assistance, contact Women’s Health West on 9689 9588 or the safe steps Family Violence Response line on 1800 015 188.