The Elder Abuse Response Service aims to improve the quality of life of older people in abusive situations and to prevent abuse by providing information, education programmes, advocacy and support.

If you have concerns about Elder Abuse, the way you or someone you know are being treated, spoken to or cared for, or if you are concerned about how money is spent and property is being used, we offer a free and confidential service to help.


Types of Abuse

Several types of abuse can be present at the same time:

  • Financial/Property Abuse     

Being persuaded into signing over money, property or possessions.

  • Physical Abuse     

Being handled roughly, slapped or hit or being forcefully confined or restrained.

  • Emotional/Psychological Abuse

          Being insulted, threatened or called names.

  • Neglect

Being denied food, medical care, clothing, shelter or social contact.

  • Sexual Abuse

Being forced to be sexually intimate.

  • Self Neglect

Own omission to secure adequate food, warmth or hygiene.

Findings from Overseas Research

Elder abuse and neglect is a universal problem, it is not limited to any one gender, religion, culture, ethnic or income group.

The abused party may:

  • Be dependent on the abuser for care and assistance
  • Suffer from more than one type of abuse
  • Be reluctant to admit that their abuser is a loved one
  • Be fearful of reporting abuse, thinking it could lead to further abuse, rest home placement or total abandonment

The abuser may:

  • Be a health or home support worker
  • Be a family member (adult, child, spouse or other relative)
  • Be a friend
  • Have an alcohol or substance abuse problem
  • Be frustrated or isolated

The abuse:

  • It can happen anywhere but the most common places are at home or in residential or hospital care
  • It could be an intentional or unintentional action by anyone
  • It could be caused by economic or emotional dependence of either the victim or the abuser
  • It could be accepted by the family and society as a way of life

Examples of Abuse

Mr Johnson is 78 years old and lives with his son, who is unemployed. The son is in need of money and cashes his father’s superannuation for his personal use.

Mrs Wilson is 80 years old. She sold her house and gifted her son the proceeds from the sale. In return her son offered her accommodation to live in his home. The house is cramped. Mrs Johnson does not get on well with her daughter-in-law who ignores her or yells at her. The children sometimes kick her.

Some older people live with a constant dread of loneliness, confusion and neglect. Physical, mental, financial or sexual abuse can make life intolerable.

How Can We Help?

The staff have a wide knowledge of the needs of older people and their carers. They work closely with relevant organisations.

  • A registered nurse or a social worker is available for advice and support
  • Free, confidential service
  • Referral to appropriate agencies
  • Information on all issues relating to abuse
  • Assistance in working with individuals to improve their quality of life
  • Seminars and presentations on elder abuse and neglect prevention can be arranged.
Contact the Health Team on (03) 366-0903 or make a referral.

Education sessions covering Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention are available

You can make a request for an education session here