Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse

What we know

Elder abuse is an act which harms an older person and is carried out by someone they trust.  All health professionals, aged care staff and service providers have responsibilities with regard to elder abuse. We do not know if there are elder abuse problems at the end of life.

What can I do?

Make sure older people and their families know about the role of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. Phone: 1800 951 822

Make sure that older people and their families know the correct contact details for organisations in each state or territory that can help with concerns of abuse or neglect. My Aged Care has links to these organisations.

Make sure that the person and their family knows about the Charter of Aged Care Rights.

Direct and legal interventions such as taking the abused person away from an abusive situation, may not be the optimal response. In some cases, mediation and support services could resolve the problem. Any intervention should be carefully planned and monitored, tailored to the best interest of the older person.

Be aware of cultural differences in families’ attitudes, expectations of duty of care, and the understanding of the level of respect and attention that an older people should receive. These may determine a family carer’s perception of neglect or abuse, their ability to care, and their willingness to seek help when caring for an older relative.

What can I learn?

Check out the:

Elder abuse is a confronting issue. Compass resources can help you recognise and tackle elder abuse.

Become familiar with the Charter of Aged Care Rights. Published in 19 languages, this document outlines the rights and responsibilities of care recipients including national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care services.

What can my organisation do?

Ensure that staff, clients or residents are aware of the contact details of organisations that can help. ACT Community Services has a list of useful organisations and succinct information about elder abuse.

Offer training, for staff need to be aware of their responsibilities in recognising, preventing and redressing harm and neglect.

Make sure that staff and residents/clients are aware of the organisation's complaints mechanism in place and that it is available on request.

Staff who have the capacity to lead and implement change in systems and processes could be encouraged and supported to attend a workshop 'Making the most of complaints in aged care' (home care and residential care) run by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is noted on 15 June every year. You can participate in this event and share resources that are made available for the day.

Page updated 16 July 2021