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’.
In June 2017, the Australian Law Reform Commission published a report titled: Elder Abuse — A
National Legal Response. The Hon. 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.
On the International Day of Older Persons, 1 October 2021, Dr Patterson launched a new elder abuse video campaign ‘What can you do to help’ to raise awareness among people who interact with older Australians about the warning signs of elder abuse and where to get support.
This is the Commission’s second elder abuse awareness video. The first elder abuse video campaign ‘Know the Signs’ was launched on the 1 October 2020 and encourages people to open their eyes to elder abuse, know the warning signs and understand that it can happen to any older person.
Dr Patterson has also developed elder abuse awareness bookmarks and posters to increase community awareness of the signs of elder abuse and the National Elder Abuse phone line. The resources are available in English, Italian, Greek, Simplified Chinese, Arabic and German and more translated versions will be rolled out progressively between 2021-2022. If you would like to request bookmarks and posters to share with your community, please contact Age.DiscriminationCommissioner@humanrights.gov.au or click on the links below to download:
Information on Elder Abuse is available in English, Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Croatian, German, Greek, French, Italian, Macedonian, Maltese, Netherlands (Dutch), Polish, Serbian, Spanish, Vietnamese.