October 9, 2017

On October 1 2017, the Attorney General George Brandis Q.C. announced a range of initiatives to better protect the rights of older Australians. These initiatives are part of the Government’s $15 million election commitment to lead a national agenda to address elder abuse in Australia.

Mr Brandis said that: “The abuse of older Australians can take many forms including financial, physical, emotional, and sexual. For far too long, older Australians have had these actions diminish their ability to enjoy their lives with dignity and this has too often occurred in silence. Elder abuse is a complex and often hidden problem in Australia”.

He stated further that: “By 2055, the Australian population aged over 65 is expected to rise to 23 percent, this is up from 15 percent in 2014-15. The Turnbull Government is working closely with communities and the aged care sector to further reform care and empower people. The focus is on increasing choices in home and residential care for older Australians, with safety and quality of life the top priorities. Together we will build a national understanding of elder abuse, establish better ways to share information, and work in partnership to protect the rights of all older Australians”.

Specifically, the Government has committed to:

  • Support the creation of an online Knowledge Hub which will raise awareness and provide information about responding to and preventing elder abuse.
  • Establish a National Elder Abuse Peak Body which will create a cohesive system to provide more comprehensive and co-ordinated support to elder abuse victims. Currently, resources are difficult to locate and obtain as the work undertaken in this area by Organisations in the States and Territories is fragmented.
  • Fund research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies in collaboration with other Research Institutes which will focus on the prevalence and nature of elder abuse.
  • Sponsor the Fifth National Elder Abuse Conference in 2018 to further build engagement and support for a collaborative response to elder abuse.

Elder abuse is made more complex due to the fact that the perpetrators in a majority of cases are family members, and many cases are unreported so that the true extent of Elder Abuse in Australia is unknown.

If you have any concerns regarding any Elder Abuse issues, please contact our Eldercare Legal Team on (03) 9870 9870.

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