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Minister for Seniors Maggie Barry is calling for everyone to bring the issue of elder abuse and neglect out in to the open and speak out about it whenever possible.

“Elder abuse is not ok and must never be tolerated.  We need to show our respect for seniors and today, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, is an ideal opportunity to start the conversation,” Ms Barry says.

“Addressing elder abuse is one of my main priorities as Minister for Seniors. Research indicates around one in 10 seniors will experience some form of abuse, however only a third of those cases will be reported. For too long it’s been a difficult and sometimes shameful issue to discuss openly. It is time for that to change.”

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is marked around the world by individuals and groups who stand together to show their respect for seniors.

“This year our SuperSeniors Champions are at the forefront of the campaign and will be joined by the first Super Seniors Patron Sir Peter Snell.”

From 1 July a new nationwide Elder Abuse Response Service (EARS) and a new 24/7 free-phone helpline will improve the speed and effectiveness of how elder abuse cases are dealt with.

Ms Barry says this new service will have the potential to make a significant difference to vulnerable seniors’ lives.

“We can raise awareness of the help available for victims of elder abuse from all parts of New Zealand, and from any cultural background or ethnicity. We must confront this issue, get it out of the shadows and make it clear it is never acceptable “

More information about World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and the EARS services can be found at www.superseniors.msd.govt.nz

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