What things might be considered 'elder abuse'?
Elder abuse is any act which causes harm to an older person and occurs within an informal relationship of trust, such as family or friends.
Elder abuse is not just about physical violence. It can include forms of financial, emotional, social and psychological abuse.
Some examples of behaviour that could be elder abuse include:
Financial – using an older person's money or property without their permission, taking control of bank accounts, selling property and keeping the proceeds, repeatedly asking for 'loans' or access to an expected inheritance, pressure to sign legal documents or Powers of Attorney without proper explanation.
Emotional or psychological - verbal or physical threats, threats of abandonment and intimidation, threats to harm others or pets, withdrawal of love and support.
Social - restricting someone's social freedom, cutting off phone services, hiding mail, and isolating the older person from family and friends.
Physical - any deliberate act resulting in physical pain or injury, including being hit, kicked, pushed, spat on or restrained.
Sexual - sexually abusive or exploitative behaviour, including sexual assault, making obscene phone calls, or watching obscene DVDs in the presence of an older person who does not want to see this.
Neglect - not providing life's necessities, such as adequate food, shelter, medical care and emotional support.
Aged Care Quality and Safety Royal Commission
If you or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse, our Seniors Rights and Advocacy Service may be able to help.
The types of matters that we can provide advice and assistance on include;
- planning for the future (Enduring Powers of Attorney, Enduring Powers of Guardianship, guardianship and administration orders and Advance Health Directives)
- providing legal assistance when someone lacks decision making capacity (guardianship and administration)
- family disputes
- granny flats and moving in with family
- family law and issues involving grandchildren
- protection from violence or abuse.
To find out what help we can give for your situation, call the Infoline on 1300 650 579.
You may also be able to get help from these services:
Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre - Older Peoples Rights Service
Provides legal advice, information, referral and crisis counselling for older people who are experiencing elder abuse or are at risk of being abused.
Advocare also run the Elder Abuse Hotline - 1300 724 679.
Aged Care Complaints Commissioner provides a free service for anyone to raise their concerns about the quality of care or services being delivered to people receiving aged care services subsidised by the Australian Government.
You can phone the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner on 1800 550 552 (9am–5pm, Monday to Friday) or you can lodge a complaint online.
Compass - Guiding action on elder abuse
A national elder abuse knowledge hub, to help raise awareness and connect people to services and information on elder abuse.
Department of Communities - Preventing elder abuse
Information on elder abuse for victims, potential victims and the general public, including ways to help prevent elder abuse.
WA Police - Seniors and Elder Abuse
Information about how the police may be able to help.
Reviewed: 24 May 2018