Most elder abuse perpetrated by family member

The number of people seeking advice about elder abuse from Seniors Rights Victoria has increased over the past seven years. (Bigstock)

Ninety per cent of elder abuse is perpetrated by family members, according to new data released by Seniors Rights Victoria and the National Ageing Research Institute. Source: ABC News.

The Seven Years of Elder Abuse Data in Victoria study analysed 2,385 cases of elder abuse reported to the Seniors Rights Victoria's confidential helpline between June 2012 and July 2019.

Elder abuse is defined as any act, or failure to act, which causes harm or distress to an older person in a relationship of trust.

Seniors Rights Victoria principal lawyer Rebecca Edwards said psychological abuse – name calling, threats and financial abuse – are the most common forms of elder abuse. For two out of three callers, the perpetrator was an adult son or daughter.

The report found the number of people seeking advice about elder abuse from SRV had increased over the past seven years. Family conflict – reported in 44 per cent of all cases – was identified as the most common risk factor.

People experiencing poor physical health, cognitive impairment or a lack of support were identified as being at higher risk of becoming victims.

While adult children are most likely to take advantage of older Victorians, partners, in-laws, grandchildren and friends have also been accused of perpetrating abuse.

The report found drug, alcohol and gambling problems were the highest risk factor for perpetrators, followed by mental health issues and financial difficulties.

SRV hopes the report will encourage further research on elder abuse, as well as better funding for services.


Seven Years of Elder Abuse report finds 90 per cent of perpetrators are family members (By Matilda Marozzi, ABC News

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