Sexual abuse of aged care residents “numbers are shocking”: Dr Catherine Barrett

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Dr Catherine Barrett, Director of Celebrate Ageing, said the latest data revealing 530 cases of sexual abuse of aged care residents in the last three months of 2021 was “shocking”.

“We can’t be numb to it, and I think that’s one of the problems,” Catherine, who also is project coordinator of #ReadyToListen, told The Guardian.

“The numbers are shocking. One person is shocking. It has to change, it just has to change, because it’s not keeping with community standards.”

“The estimated number of alleged incidents of unlawful sexual contact in 2018-19 could be as high as 2520, or almost 50 per week. This is a disgrace and should be a source of national shame,” said the Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

“The sector has seen little improvement since the aged care royal commission handed down its findings more than 12 months ago,” Older Persons Advocacy Network Chief Executive Craig Gear said.

Unlawful sexual contact or inappropriate sexual conduct represented 9% of reportable incident notifications to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission from July to September 2021.

The #ReadyToListen project is funded by the Health Department and being delivered by the Older Person’s Advocacy Network, Celebrate Ageing and the Older Women’s Network, New South Wales.