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Together, we can stop elder abuse

On 15 June, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, we’re reminded that everyone has the right to feel safe at home.

We all want the ability to make our own choices in life and have them accepted. This doesn’t change as we get older. Everybody can contribute to a world where people are respected, supported, and empowered to live the way they choose regardless of age.

Sometimes family, friends or neighbours may harm an older person in their life. It can be intentional or unintentional and happen to anyone over 65 years. This is elder abuse and can look like:

  • Taking money 
  • Controlling who can enter the home
  • Not letting grandchildren visit
  • Verbal abuse
  • Withholding or limiting medication or food
  • Limiting heating and cooling to keep bills low

Our attitudes can inadvertently create an environment where this behaviour is seen as acceptable. Thoughts such as “older people are frail and can’t manage on their own” or “young families need houses more than people living on their own” can unintentionally contribute to actions that hurt older people. 

To help prevent elder abuse, everyone should make sure they have legal documents such as Power of Attorney and Medical Decision Treatment Maker in place. Staying connected to the older people in our lives makes it harder for others to take advantage. It also provides opportunities to ask for or offer help if needed. Most of all, we need to remember to treat everyone with dignity and respect no matter their age or ability. 

Elder Abuse support services

If you or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse, please call Seniors Rights Victoria on 1300 368 821 or email If there is immediate danger call Triple zero (000) for police assistance.

For elder abuse prevention support services, you can call Better Place Australia on 1800 214 117, make an enquiry via, or visit Better Place Australia. 

If you need support outside of Victoria, please call 1800 ELDERHelp (1800 353 374). This national free call number connects callers seeking information and advice on elder abuse to a local service.

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