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Abuse and neglect faced by older people


The Australian Institute of Family Studies defines Elder Abuse as a complex phenomenon that takes several shapes, including, psychological, physical, financial and sexual abuse and neglect. It is often a hidden form of neglect and abuse.

Abuse and neglect faced by older people

Up to 14% of older people in high or middle income societies are victims of neglect or abuse every year. It is likely that the prevalence rates are much higher in institutional care settings than in community settings.

Several factors related to older people, their perpetrators, their relationships, and other contextual factors may contribute to older people's risk of neglect and abuse. Increasing evidence suggests that poor quality relationships and social isolation of older people are some of the main risk factors associated with elder abuse in community settings.

Some signs of potentially abusive behaviours are:

  • Change of mood or behaviour of the older person;
  • The person tell you they are being abused;
  • Someone tells you they have witnessed an abusive behaviour;
  • You have witnessed an action or inaction that can be a sign of neglect or abuse.

Note: do not ignore what a person with dementia tells you just because they have dementia. They are to be treated the same as others.

In case of suspected elder abuse towards you or someone you know, contact:

NSW Ageing and Disability Abuse Helpline
​​​​​​Telephone: 1800 628 221
Email: sends e-mail)

Seniors Rights Services
1800 424 079

Some of the key protective factors are social connections and healthy relationships with family members and friends.

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We acknowledge the Traditional owners of the land on which we meet, walk, work and live. We acknowledge the elders past and present and the care they have given this country.

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