As difficult as it may be to comprehend, around 4-6 per cent of elderly Australians are subject to some form of elder abuse. Defined as 'any act which causes harm to an older person and is carried out by someone they know and trust', elder abuse can occur both in aged care settings and in the home.
Elder abuse can take many forms. Often more than one type of abuse can be used.
Emotional (or psychological) abuse: Using threats, humiliation or harassment causing distress and feelings of shame, stress or powerlessness. It often occurs in combination with other forms of abuse.
Neglect: Failing to provide the basic necessities of life, either intentionally or unintentionally.
Financial abuse: Using someone’s money, property or other assets illegally or improperly or forcing someone to change their will or sign documents. This is the most common form of abuse seen at Seniors Rights Victoria.
Physical abuse: Inflicting pain or injury by hitting, slapping, pushing or using restraints.
Social abuse: Forcing someone to become isolated by restricting their access to others including family, friends or services. This can be used to prevent others from finding out about the abuse.
Sexual Abuse: Any sexual activity for which the person has not consented.
Some forms of abuse are criminal acts, for example physical and sexual abuse. Alleged criminal activity should be reported to the police.
The Elder Abuse Prevention Unit has information on where to seek assistance if you or someone you know is being subject to elder abuse. For more details, please click here.
To view our interview with a representative from Justice Connect, please click here.