Elder Abuse

The World Health Organisation describes Elder abuse as:

‘a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person’.

Abuse of older persons can be:

  • physical abuse
  • psychological or emotional abuse
  • financial abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • intentional neglect.

Signs that an older person might be suffering from abuse include:

  • unexplained injuries
  • family members or carer’s not welcoming visitors, or there is a change in the pattern of family visits and signs of anxiety after a visit
  • raised voices in the home
  • an older person making large financial gifts to one family member, or money going missing from an older person’s home
  • signs of neglect around the home or on the older person.

The ACT’s Vulnerable Person legislation makes it an offence, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, for a person who is responsible for the care of a vulnerable person to abuse, neglect or fail to protect an older vulnerable person.

If you suspect an someone you know is experiencing older person abuse, you can call the following organisations: