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Retirement village operators urged to improve elder abuse protections

Age Discrimination
Age Discrimination Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald

The Age Discrimination Commissioner, Robert Fitzgerald AM, has called on Australia’s retirement living sector to introduce new nationwide strategies to better identify and respond to the abuse of residents. 

Elder abuse affects one in six older Australians, including those living in retirement villages. The abuse can take many forms, including neglect, financial exploitation, physical violence, and psychological abuse. According to a 2023 study by the NSW Retirement Villages Residents Association, the most common form of abuse in villages is resident-on-resident. 

Retirement Village Elder Abuse Prevention Strategies are currently mandated in New South Wales, requiring operators to develop and implement strategies that support staff and residents. Commissioner Fitzgerald believes all states and territories need to follow suit. 

“Elder abuse is highly prevalent and has no place in our society, let alone in retirement villages. Operators have a responsibility to prevent it,” Commissioner Fitzgerald said. 

“Retirement villages are an important sector in our society that can help foster a sense of community and wellbeing for the more than 250,000 older Australians who reside in them. It is therefore an imperative that operators create clear and robust strategies to ensure its residents feel safe, live with dignity, and can access services and information that supports their safety and wellbeing. 

“In recent years, awareness has increased in the sector that elder abuse is a real problem in communities. But awareness is not enough. We need national strategies in place that reduce the risk.” 

Commissioner Fitzgerald will address the issue this week during the National Retirement Living Summit 2024, run by the Retirement Living Council. He is speaking at a panel session on Thursday 27 June titled ‘The Resident Experience’. 

Click here to register to attend the National Retirement Living Summit. 

ENDS | Media contact: or 0457 281 897