Current State Of Elder Abuse Issue In New Zealand

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Vulnerable Population and Vulnerabity

Vulnerable Population and Vulnerability in relation to abuse, vulnerability can be described as the deficiency of a person to shield himself/herself to any risk from an abuser. Vulnerable population are those individuals or social events of people who are in a tough situation like elderly, young people and individuals with insufficiency or incapacity to perform their tasks. They are vulnerable basically because of their mental inadequacies or physical and dependence. They depend upon different people emotionally, financially or for physical attention. For this situation, they must choose the option to remain under the consideration of someone else.

Current Situation (Elderly Abuse)

Elder abuse isn't only an issue in New Zealand yet what's more an overall concern. Age Concern New Zealand assumed that 10% of the people developed over 65 years’ involved in abuse. In the social protection setting, an investigation from Age Concern that was released in 2007says that 68% of the definite abuse occurred in rest homes sought after by 16% and 13%occurred in centres and retirement towns separately.

Provided that both the victim and the one reporting the abuse are safe, any suspicion of the presence of abuse must be reported immediately. If there’s an immediate danger, call the police right away otherwise; follow reporting procedures in non-immediate danger situations. In cases where issues are not resolved within the organization, they can be brought to concerned agencies such as Age Concern and the like. As a DT and a part of a service provider for instance, you are obliged to report whenever the rights of the clients under Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights are being violated.


Maria, 70 years old, widow and has a child, she used to teach English in one of the famous University in the Philippines where she encountered her second spouse Mr. Greg, a resident of New Zealand. The couple decided to move to New Zealand after retiring from work and leaving her child to care for their privately-owned company. Prior to leaving Philippines, Maria gave an ordinary power of attorney to his child for any exchanges for her sake. But after ten years subsequent to coming to New Zealand, Maria and his child’s communication was declined. Being bothered over her mom's circumstance, he chose to come and take a look at himself. Upon appearance, he promptly speculated that there is some kind of problem with his mother and his step-dad. His mother deprived of being abused by his step-dad when he asked her concerning her wounds. Three weeks after, he discovered the truth by the help of their neighbours that his step-dad is abusing his mother.

The child discussed with his mother about the circumstance and guaranteed her that she will back her up in whatever choices she will do. He encouraged his mother not to be worried in making some testimony and asked whether she needs to tell the authorities. His mother was reluctant and said that she is absolutely fine. After at some point, while always conveying to his mother, Maria in the long run speak-up. The circumstance he envisioned was far more terrible. His mother admitted that she has recently been diagnosed of having breast cancer stage 2 and those they are living respectively with his step-dad’s mistress and her 18 years of age child. His mother becomes maid in her own home in spite of her health condition and age. Maria’s bank account was controlled by her husband and her life was in danger if she reports to the authorities. Later, upon discovering the truth, the child and the mother complied to seek the help of the authorities and the family court grant their application for protection order. Maria was admitted to the hospital while his child was given an Enduring Power of Attorney for personal care and property.

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Responsibilities for Reporting Abuse

Given that both the person who reports the abuse and the victim are secured, any suspicion of the incidence of abuse must be reported right away. If there's an instant risk, immediately call the police or do the non-immediate procedures in reporting such abuse. In circumstances where concerns are not settled inside the group, they can be conveyed to concerned associations, for instance, Age Concern, etc. As a DT and a bit of a service provider for example, you must report at whatever point the benefits of the clients under Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights are being ignored.


  • 3PR Act (Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988)

This is the most law that protects the senior from such abuse. Whereas they're psychologically competent, this act supports them to consolidate fast Power of Attorney (POA) to somebody who is competent. This POA permits an individual or an organization to act on behalf of the benefactor. The POA can act to either organization or individual for health and property or they can have 2 different attorneys. In an occasion once there’s a conflict for each attorney, the personal care attorney triumphs in creating choices on behalf of the benefactor. Nevertheless, they can ask assistance to the family court. In relation to the given scenario, while Maria is in New Zealand the ordinary power of attorney was given to her son to follow up for her benefits. Likewise, enduring power of attorney was given to the child because of her current situation and age.

  • Domestic Violence Act 1995

This act is served to shield an elderly from a harsh residential relationship. More adults are the ones vulnerable against abuse by their kids, kin, life partner or live-in carers. By this act, they can apply to the Family Court a Protection Order at whatever point they are in danger to shield them from abuse. Base from the given scenario, it was presented that Maria was neglected and the Protection order that was permitted to her defends her from her distressing spouse.

Code of Rights

Having the option to represent one's self is as of now a test most particularly to the population of vulnerable people. It is, in this manner, everybody's obligation to help this populace to construct their certainty to talk or to approach somebody to advocate them. Respecting their decisions or choices also means helping a client in promoting self-advocacy. Having comprehended the entire circumstance or issue of the customer, it is important to know communication boundaries also, for example, cultural boundaries, cognitive or sensory impairment and language boundaries. Base from the scenario, Maria’s son did not force her to share what happened but he show respect and through effective communication until her mother opened up.

Strategies to Promote Self-Advocacy

Make their own choices. Nevertheless whether you disagree or agree to their choices, you shouldn’t question the decision a client has made. Otherwise, the client will give up on the self-advocacy process. Maria from the scenario was given the freedom to decide for herself. Her son was only there to support her.

Participate actively. Convincing the customer to practice self-advocacy to know their rights most particularly when they’re being abuse is the objective of helping them in the advocacy promotion. In any case, in circumstances when they are unequipped for representing themselves, customers ought to believe in approaching somebody to advocate for them. Through the assistance of her child, Maria from the situation took an interest effectively in revealing to the authorities the abusive action of her husband.


Elder abuse is one of the issues in New Zealand and often goes unrecognized and unreported. By the help of this report we are able to know or being aware of the code of rights of every client and promote self-advocacy regardless of their situation. Reporting obligation must also practice and done immediately to lessen the case of abuse.


  1. Women’s Refuge (n.d) retrieved from
  2. Parliamentary Counsel Office (n.d) Preliminary Provisions. Retrieved from:
  3. Health Navigator (2019) where to Get Immediate Help If You Are Being Abused Retrieved form:
  4. The Arc (2019) Retrieved from:
  5. Health and Disability Commissioner (2019) Retrieved from:
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