Thousands of vulnerable people across the state have received support through the NSW Ageing and Disability Commission since it was established one year ago.
Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said the Commission, led by Robert Fitzgerald AM, was helping protect adults with disability and older people from abuse, neglect and exploitation in their family, home and community.
“Commissioner Fitzgerald and his team have hit the ground running, working hard to not only inform and educate the community, but to respond swiftly to allegations of wrongdoing,” Mr Ward said.
“NSW continues to lead the way when it comes to protecting our most vulnerable and this historic Commission’s work is changing lives for the better every day.”
The Ageing and Disability Commission was established last year to improve oversight, strengthen safeguards, and fill a gap not addressed by existing complaint and investigative bodies.
The Commission has handled more than 3,800 matters, of which almost two-thirds related to the abuse, neglect and exploitation of older people and adults with disability.
More than 10,000 calls were made to the Ageing and Disability Abuse Helpline in the last year. The most commonly reported allegations for older people were psychological and financial abuse, while for people with disability, the most commonly reported allegations related to psychological abuse and neglect.
The Commission also plays a pivotal role educating the community and raising awareness. Since its inception, 65 community engagement sessions have been held, reaching about 200,000 frontline workers, service providers and volunteers.
Acting Minister for Seniors Geoff Lee said the NSW Government takes its responsibility to safeguard the most vulnerable members of our community seriously.
“The message from the NSW Government is loud and clear. The physical, emotional and financial abuse and neglect of older persons must stop. Every older person in NSW deserves respect and should not be taken advantage of,” Mr Lee said.
“The Commission has strengthened the response to abuse, neglect and exploitation of adults with a disability as well as older people. It also plays a pivotal role in educating the community and raising awareness.”
Commissioner Fitzgerald said the collective effort from Government, the social services sector and the community has been encouraging.
“Everyone has the right to live free from abuse and we all have a role to play in making that happen,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
“I am proud of what the Commission has already been able to achieve and I am constantly motivated by the drive and ambition we collectively share to make NSW a safer place for older people and adults with a disability.”
Anyone who suspects that an older person or an adult with a disability is being abused, neglected or exploited in their family, home or the community, should contact the Ageing and Disability Abuse Helpline on 1800 628 221.