Elder abuse can be defined as any act within a relationship of trust which results in harm to an older person.
It can consist of emotional, phycological, financial, physical, sexual abuse or neglect.
The Queensland Government website (in the Seniors section) lists examples as follows:
- misusing an Enduring Power of Attorney by taking money or property improperly
- frightening someone by threatening to hurt a pet or break belongings
- intimidating, humiliating, or harassing a person
- threatening to evict someone or put them in a nursing home
- stopping a person from seeing family or friends
- denying someone the right to make their own decisions
- pension skimming
- selling someone’s belongings without permission
- forcing a person to change their will
- denying someone access or control of their own funds
- not allowing services to help someone
- neglecting a person’s physical, medical or emotional needs
- slapping, hitting, pushing or restraining
- making unwanted sexual approaches or behaving indecently.
Many elders are very private and do not want to discuss their concerns as they may fear that the abuser will take action against them, they may be sent to a care facility or they feel ashamed that somehow this is their fault and that it has come to this.
If you suspect someone you know is at risk of abuse or suffering abuse, then step forward and take some action.
If you can speak with the person, ask some open/general questions or if there are signs of abuse – ask some more directed questions.
Listen carefully, assess the risk and depending on the circumstances consider offering to help by accessing support services as listed below.
At McColm Matsinger Lawyers we can also advise and assist you on the steps to take to try and stop elder abuse occurring.
- Support Services include: In an emergency phone the police on Triple Zero (000)
- Call the Elder Abuse Helpline (9am–5pm, Monday to Friday) for free and confidential advice for anyone experiencing elder abuse or who suspects someone they know may be experiencing elder abuse.
Phone: 1300 651 192 (Queensland only) or (07) 3867 2525 (rest of Australia).
- Legal support for seniors
- Office of the Public Guardian looks after the interests of adults with impaired capacity
- ADA Australia
Provides general advocacy support or guardianship advocacy to older Queenslanders experiencing discrimination, harm or abuse.
Phone: 1800 700 600
- Queensland Human Rights Commission
Phone: 1300 130 670
Depression and anxiety information, advice and referrals.
Phone: 1300 224 636
- Crime Stoppers
Information provided by the community assists with crime fighting and crime prevention.
Phone: 1800 333 000
- DV Connect
Provides free help for women, men, children, and pets affected by domestic and family violence across Queensland.
Phone Women’s Line: 1800 811 811
Phone Men’s Line: 1800 600 636
Counselling services for anyone at any time.
Phone: 13 11 14
- Office of the Public Guardian
Protects the rights and interests of vulnerable Queenslanders, including adults with impaired decision making capacity.
Phone: 1300 653 187
- Public Trustee
Provides a range of services that help you plan for the future.
Phone: 1300 360 044
- Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal
Appoints guardians or administrators to act on behalf of adults with impaired decision making capacity.
Phone: 1300 753 228
- Seniors legal services
Free legal and support services for seniors.
Talk to the team at McColm Matsinger Lawyers if you need some help.