Australia

Experts enlisted to help stop elder abuse

A new national body will give expert help to elderly people at risk of financial and physical abuse. (AAP)

Attorney-General Christian Porter is enlisting the help of peak state bodies to protect older Australians from abuse and neglect.

Elderly Australians suffering abuse and their families will be able to seek expert help from a new national body.

Peak groups from each of the states will partner with the federal government under Elder Abuse Action Australia to protect people from financial and physical abuse.

Attorney-General Christian Porter said the new body would help tackle serious crimes of fraud and theft.

He used the examples of older people who didn't understand a document a family member had asked them to sign or why money had disappeared from their bank account.

In those cases, people would be able to call EAAA for help.

Mr Porter described the abuse, neglect and exploitation of older people as a tragedy, pledging to work with the states, territories and community partners to tackle it.

"Part of this is destigmatising the existence of elder abuse. Encouraging people to tell their stories, to make their abuse known, to complain," Mr Porter told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.

The attorney-general said anecdotal evidence showed elder abuse was on the rise, but detailed research into its prevalence and severity was due to be released in December.

He said elder abuse was most likely in financial settings, with the EAAA to work with law enforcement in such matters as estates, property and bank accounts.

Mr Porter expects the new group to play a key role in the development of a national plan to combat elder abuse, which he announced in February.

The Turnbull government is providing $500,000 to establish the EAAA, which was launched on Thursday ahead of World Elder Abuse Day on Friday.

Australia's population is rapidly ageing, with the proportion of the population aged over 65 due to soar from 15 per cent in 2014-15 to 23 per cent by 2055.

"We need to address the risk of abuse that faces people as they age," Mr Porter said.

State and federal attorneys general last week agreed to progress standardised power of attorney orders across the country to prevent impatient adult children from stealing any inheritance from their vulnerable parents.

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