Stop the Hate: Elder abuse

By Kristin Macfarlane

The Daily Post has launched a campaign to take a stand against bullying in our city. Stop The Hate will will look at bullying, bullies and their victims. Today, we look at elder abuse.


A 73-year-old Rotorua woman has lived in her home for more than 50 years and for the past few years, she has, at times, felt unsafe in her own home.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, is a victim of elderly abuse.

For close to five years she has lived next to a young man who constantly harasses her.

She believes the bully sees her as an easy target and constantly throws stones and other items at her bedroom windows and follows her from the outside as she goes into different rooms.

The ritual starts at night when the lights go out, she said.

"For the past four to five years my next door neighbour has been throwing articles at my bedroom windows, my lounge and the chimney.

"A couple of months ago he poured diesel down my chimney while the fire was alight, also thrown heavy articles on my roof.

"Human faeces had been deposited in my back garden also.''

There was one instance when she remembered stones being thrown at the window of each room she was in as

she moved around the house. The person responsible for throwing the stones _ and trying to scare her _ seemed to be watching where she was walking and following her, she said.

At times the woman was scared in her own home, she said.

The woman believes he is harassing her because he feels he can intimidate her considering she lived alone.

"I live on my own, I'm a target.''

However, she has had enough and doesn't know what else she can do to stop it.

"Abuse of anyone let alone the elderly is not the sort of thing any of us should have to put up with,'' the woman said.

In 2010, the woman started writing down every time she was being harassed by her neighbour and has caught

him throwing items at her windows a couple of times. However, when she confronted him, he denied it.

Her bully, she said, was unemployed and at home alone most days.

She has talked to the man's family who live with him but because he denies the harassment, they believe him.

"It's a waste of breath.''

The woman said she had talked to police about her concerns but because there was no evidence they were unable to do anything.

Now, she said, she felt like it was a waste of time. She has had enough and doesn't know what to do.

Some people have suggested she install surveillance cameras around the house but that was something she could not afford.

"I've considered cameras but they're too expensive.''

Most of the time she said she felt safe because the rest of her neighbours were friendly, but there were times when she didn't.

"I am sure there are other people out in the community who have had a similar experience as I am having now. I would like to know if you have a solution.''

If you have any solution that may be able to help this woman or would like to share a story about bullying, email or contact her on (07) 348 6199, ext: 57072.


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- Rotorua Daily Post

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