Settlement Guide

Settlement Guide: 10 things you should know about elder abuse

Source: AAP

Elder abuse is a common problem in Australia. Know what elder abuse is and how to get help.

1. Elder abuse affects up to 10% of the worldwide population but most cases go unreported.


Source: NSW Seniors Rights Service

Elder Abuse
Pedro Ribiero Simoes / CC BY 2.0


2. Elder Abuse means any single or repeated act, or lack of action in a relationship "where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person."

Source: World Health Organistion

Fisherman sits on deck of boat with mast and sail


3Elder abuse doesn’t only mean forms of physical abuse – it also covers psychological abuse, economic abuse and neglect.

Source: The Australian Institute of Family Studies

A woman uses a walker to assist her mobility in Canberra, Friday, May 24, 2013. (AAP Image/Alan Porritt) NO ARCHIVING


4. In 90% of elder abuse cases, the perpetrator is a family member.

 Source: Seniors Rights Victoria

Elder Abuse by family
QLD Govt


5. Recognising elder abuse can sometimes be difficult. The abuse may be subtle or intentionally hidden and the older person may be reluctant to discuss the issue.

 Source: Aged Rights Advocacy Service 

Studio shot of senior man


6. People often use a Power of Attorney to abuse older people – taking over the management of their financial and legal affairs.

Source: NSW Seniors Rights Service

Power of Attorney


7. The UN supports the principles of independance, participation, care, self-fulfilment and dignity for older persons.

Source: UN Principles for Older Persons (1991)

A nurse holds the hand of an elderly patient wearing a hospital identification band at Liverpool Hospital, Sydney on Tuesday, June 11, 2013.  (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) NO ARCHIVING


8. Older people who have limited English language skills or literacy are often prone to elder abuse by their family or friends.

Source: Aged Care Manager Alex Abramhoff

Elder Abuse
Australian Federal Government


9. There are no mandatory reporting laws for elder abuse in any Australian state or territory.


Source: Australian Institute of Family Studies

Elder Abuse by family


10. If you or someone you know may be suffering from elder abuse, assistance is available.

Find your state's helpline at the my aged care website.

If you speak a language other than English, contact the National Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 13 14 50.

Flickr / David Bleasdale