The conversations of life

Not ‘someone else’s problem’: how do we encourage people to report elder abuse?


This week the Federal Government announced a national plan to stamp out elder abuse.

We welcome the initiative, but it raised an important issue for us – how do we encourage older people to report abuse?

Estimates of elder abuse in Australia range from two per cent to 10 per cent, but many cases are believed to go unreported.

While we tend to think of abuse as being physical, elder abuse cases are more likely to involve financial abuse, followed by psychological and emotional abuse.

Insights from the Age Discrimination Commissioner

Age Discrimination Commissioner Hon Dr Kay Patterson AO

Jill McDonnell from the Seniors Rights Service recently referred us to an interview with the Age Discrimination Commissioner Hon Dr Kay Patterson AO, on ABC’s Radio National ‘Drive’ program.

Dr Patterson made the point that elderly parents often don’t want to go to police or the courts when a child or family member is involved.

She wants people to consider seeking advice on understanding their rights – the Older Persons Advocacy Network is a great resource.

MyAgedCare also has a list of services in every state and territory which you can call for help here.

These calls are confidential and you can remain anonymous if you wish. You can also contact these services if you are concerned about someone you know.

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

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