Dr Anthony Lynham


Elder Abuse happens. Know the signs, make it stop.

Elder Abuse happens. Know the signs, make it stop.

26 June, 2019 –

Elder abuse is a single or repeated act occurring within a relationship of trust with an older person, which causes them harm or distress. It can take different forms including financial, emotional, sexual and physical abuse, as well as neglect.

Know the signs. Is an older person in your life:

  • Expressing fear of someone close to them?
  • Deferring to another person to speak on their behalf?
  • Worried or anxious but unable to articulate why?
  • Showing unusual bruises or other injuries that they struggle to explain?
  • struggling to pay for bills, medication or other necessities when they didn’t previously?
  • showing significant changes in their appearance in ways that make you worry for their health or wellbeing?

Elder abuse is a global problem, but it can have local solutions.

We know the issue is wide-spread and under-reported. We also know there are barriers that prevent older people from reaching out for help themselves, and that’s why it’s up to us to help them to access support when they need it.

That’s why the Queensland Government funds an Elder Abuse Helpline.

If you suspect someone you know is experiencing elder abuse, don’t wait for proof, call the Elder Abuse Helpline on 1300 651 192 for free confidential information and referrals. Helpline operators are available between 9am and 5pm weekdays.

Visit https://www.communities.qld.gov.au/campaign/know-the-signs for more information.

Key statistics

Elder Abuse Prevention Unit data suggests elder abuse occurs predominantly within families. Of the 1,946 notifications of elder abuse in 2017-18:

  • 72.3 per cent of perpetrators were sons or daughters
  • 45.1 per cent of perpetrators lived with the victim
  • In 20.8 per cent of cases, the victim was dependent on the perpetrator
  • Perpetrators are almost equally men and women
  • The most common age group for perpetrators was 50 – 54 years.