World Elder Abuse Day


Sadly, thousands of older Australians experience elder abuse every year, sometimes from those closest to them.

Elder abuse has been defined by the World Health Organisation 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’.

Elder abuse can take various forms, including:

  • financial
  • physical
  • psychological,
  • emotional and
  • sexual abuse
  • neglect

No older person should be subjected to any form of abuse.

In June 2017, the Australian Law Reform Commission published a report entitled: Elder Abuse — A National Legal Response. The Honorable Dr Kay Patterson AO is working alongside organisations and government departments to implement the recommendations from this report and the priorities outlined in the National Plan to Respond to the Abuse of Older Australians.

In particular, Dr Patterson is:

  • Raising awareness of elder abuse and informing older Australians of the supports available to them
  • Raising awareness of people’s rights and obligations when entering substitute decision Arrangements, such as wills and power of attorney arrangements
  • Encouraging the development of elder law education programs and the establishment of an elder law specialist accreditation
  • Fostering connections between organisations to encourage the evaluation and sharing of existing programs and best practice
  • Working with stakeholders across various industries, such as health and finance, to increase workforce understanding and awareness of elder abuse.

If you answer no to any of these statements, you may wish to talk to someone you can trust.

  • I am treated with respect by family and friends
  • I know how my money is being spent
  • I choose what happens in my home
  • Decisions about my life are in my best interest
  • My will reflects my own wishes
  • I know where my medication is

If you’re concerned about someone you know, you don’t need to have all the answers. You can call 1800 353 374. It’s free and confidential.


Australian Human Rights Commission

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