Elder Abuse Prevention Strategy

Elder Abuse Prevention Strategy

Elder Abuse Prevention Strategy

COTA Tasmania supports Lifelong Respect: Tasmania’s Strategy to end the abuse of older people (Elder Abuse) 2023–2029 (the Tasmanian strategy) and is a member of the Statewide Elder Abuse Prevention Advisory Committee, which was instrumental in developing the strategy.

The World Health Organization defines elder abuse as “a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person”.

While the vast majority of people over 60 live active, healthy and productive lives, we must ensure that vulnerable older people are protected, respected and supported. In so doing, we acknowledge that people can become vulnerable at any time and may not necessarily remain vulnerable.

Elder abuse may involve physical or sexual abuse, taking an older person’s money or possessions, neglecting them, making threats or stopping their social contacts. It can happen at the hands of an adult child or other family member, and it often occurs in the home.

We cannot be certain how many older Australians are being bullied, hurt, neglected or defrauded. This is because so much elder abuse is hidden and never reported. However, Australia’s first National Elder Abuse Prevalence Study, released in December 2021, found that one in six older Australians living in the community experienced elder abuse in the preceding 12 months.

Every state and territory in Australia has developed elder abuse strategies, led campaigns to raise awareness, and provided education about elder abuse and its effects. All states have also established an elder abuse helpline. Tasmania’s Elder Abuse Helpline is 1800 441 169. A national helpline – 1800 353 374 – is also available. The national number will take you directly to the helpline appropriate to the state or territory you are calling from. This means that whether you ring the state or national helpline number from Tasmania, your call will be answered by staff operating the Tasmanian Elder Abuse Helpline.

If you are experiencing elder abuse or know someone who is, please call the
Tasmanian Elder Abuse Helpline on 1800 441 169.