Elder abuse Q&A with Partner Brian Herd
Listen to Brian share his insights about elder abuse below and read on for his answers to common questions about elder abuse, financial abuse and support that's available.
Partner Brian Herd from our Estates and Succession practice discusses elder abuse, an often underreported type of abuse that can include financial, physical and psychological abuse, as well as neglect. Reducing domestic and family violence, including elder abuse, is an area of focus in HopgoodGanim's Pro Bono impact strategy. If there is an immediate risk of harm to you to you or a victim of abuse, please call Triple Zero (000). You can also call the Elder Abuse Helpline on 1300 651 192 if within Queensland, or 07 3867 2525 if outside Queensland for free confidential advice, assistance and support. Please reach out to our team if you would like legal advice.
Elder abuse is a series of conduct or actions taken by someone in a position of trust in relation to a vulnerable person; such as, for example, an elderly parent. So this is a person taking advantage of the dependency of the adult and the power they have to benefit themselves and harm that elderly person.
HopgoodGanim has published a report, Elder abuse and coercive control in Australia, with more information.
I'd love to be able to say that I have statistics that are factual and correct; however, at best we know elder abuse is increasing year on year. 95% of elder abuse is committed, we understand, by family members. So we can assume, our gut tells us, as part of the statistics we do have, that it is increasing; it’s becoming a major social, financial and family problem.
Financial abuse is when a person in a position of power or control over another person uses that power or control to take advantage financially of that person. There are all sorts of ways people do that. They get access to their bank account; their online bank account. They use money to pay for their own personal bills. These are classic examples of financial abuse, particularly within families.
There is help, and you should take advantage of it if you believe someone is being abused - elder abuse, or if you are the victim of abuse. For example, you can contact the Elder Abuse Hotline to report your concerns. You can even contact the police. You can contact, for example, the Office of the Public Guardian, or you can contact a solicitor like us in terms of just talking about it and seeing what your recourses are.
Video image credit: ‘Wilaarrawa Dugulaarra’ (Growing Together) © Frances Belle Parker 2022.