Elder abuse

Yesterday I read an article in The Age on elder abuse. It referred to an elderly woman who was repeatedly raped in a nursing home. The article discussed the merits of mandatory reporting (once apon a time a contested issue in preventing child abuse). I am amazed that there are people fighting the imposition of reporting this kind of abuse. Mandatory reporting would have saved this vulnerable elderly woman – someone's mother, grandmother, great-grandmother -from further violation, a horrendous abuse of position. Instead a witness wrestled with deciding whether or not to do anything about it. Who would hesitate to report such abuses of those whom we love? Surely those whom we care for – either personally or through the care system – deserve the same. I can imagine other non-western cultures being horrified that we would systemically allow our elderly to be treated in this way. Who is going to speak for our elders? The bible has a lot to say about caring for the powerless in our society. So what are we doing about it? Where is the voice of the church on this matter? We champion the plight of the poor, of the young. Our elders deserve the same.


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