When families make the very difficult decision to place a loved one in care, the last thing they expect is for them to be attacked or abused. Sadly, that’s what has happened to an 82-year-old man who lives at an aged care facility on Sydney’s northern beaches.
The New South Wales Police Force have released a statement, confirming a man has been charged after alleged assaults in the facility. Police allege a male employee who worked at the home in the suburb of Seaforth entered the patient’s room between Sunday August 26 and Wednesday August 29 to carry out the assault.
On Wednesday afternoon, police arrested a 35-year-old man at Wheeler Heights. He was taken to nearby Manly Police Station where he was charged with two counts of common assault (DV), as well as use of an offensive weapon with intent to commit indictable offence.
While the man has been granted bail, he will appear at Manly Local Court next Tuesday.
“Elder abuse can take various forms such as physical, psychological, emotional, or financial abuse,” Superintendent David Darcy from Northern Beaches Police Area Command said in a statement. “These vulnerable people need the communities help to be their voice. To see an elderly man treated in this way is disgraceful.”
In sickening footage obtained by Sunrise and Today, a man can be seen launching an attack on a patient. On Thursday’s show, they also aired footage of the alleged attacker in handcuffs being taken away by police.
It’s sadly the second reported case of abuse in less than a week. Over the weekend, another carer in Wollongong was accused of punching and slapping a dementia patient so badly she ended up with bruising and was rushed to hospital with her injuries.
During that incident, a man contacted police after hearing disturbing noises coming from his neighbour’s home.
“It’s disturbing. Absolutely disturbing,” neighbour Steve LeeBold told 9 News. “I felt sick to my stomach. A poor lady, defenceless, with no way to communicate to the outside world.”
According to that report, LeeBold heard yelling and “sustained verbal abuse” through a double-brick wall. Police looked through a back window where it is alleged the dementia patient fell over, while her carer punched her in the thigh.
The Elder Abuse Prevent Unit previously noted that while elder abuse can take places in a number of different ways, it typically occurs when there is an imbalance of power between two people.
The abuser is usually known to the victim and it typically happens in a relationship of trust. In addition to physical and mental abuse, it can also take form in psychological, financial, sexual or neglectful abuse.
If you suspect abuse is happening to a loved one, there is help available. The Elder Abuse Helpline available in all major states and territories across the country. In Queensland, call 1300 651 192. For New South Wales, dial 1800 628 881. Canberra’s number is 02 6242 5060, while Victorians can call 1300 368 821. The number for Tasmania is 03 6237 0047 and South Australians can call 08 8232 5377. The number for the Northern Territory is 1800 037 072 and Western Australia’s is 1300 724 679.
In Australia, as many as one in 10 older Australians will experience abuse.