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Australia takes steps to end elder abuse

Discrimination Age Discrimination
Older person in wheelchair

As the world marks Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the Commission is reminding all Australians that they have a responsibility to recognise and report elder abuse and neglect in whatever form it's taking place. 

The call comes as the Australian Law Reform Commission today releases its findings and recommendations following a 15-month Federal Inquiry into elder abuse.

The report, Elder Abuse - A National Legal Response, is the result of 117 national stakeholder meetings and more than 450 submissions.

The Age Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Kay Patterson AO, said the Report is a seminal piece of research that has the power to change lives.

“The Report contains 43 recommendations and my plan is to work with Governments and stakeholders to drive the adoption of these recommendations. This includes a national plan to protect the rights and well-being of older Australians with a goal to end elder abuse,” she said.

Elder abuse includes psychological or emotional abuse, financial abuse, physical abuse, neglect and sexual abuse. It has a devastating impact on individuals, families and communities across the country.

Dr Patterson said the Report puts all Australians on notice, in particular those working with older people, that they have a responsibility to understand what elder abuse is and to commit to its elimination.

“I’d like to thank Professor Rosalind Croucher and her team at the ALRC for developing an outstanding Report that deserves the attention of all jurisdictions and stakeholders,” said Dr Patterson.

“I also commend the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC for initiating and launching this Inquiry, as well as the contributions from individuals, community groups, government authorities, businesses and other stakeholders.”