Elder Abuse Prevention and Assistance

What is Elder Abuse?
Forms of Abuse of Older People
The ACT Elder Abuse Prevention ProgramOlder Persons Abuse Prevention Referral and Information Line (APRIL)
ACT Elder Abuse Prevention Program Policy April 2010World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Respecting our Elders - Elder Abuse Prevention in the ACT

Respecting our Elders brochure

Older Persons Abuse Prevention Referral Line 6205 3535

What is Elder Abuse?

Elder Abuse is any behaviour or action within a relationship of trust that harms an older person. It includes financial, psychological, physical, sexual, social abuse and neglect.

Forms of Abuse of Older People:

Physical Abuse: the infliction of pain or injury.  This can include hitting, pushing, punching, kicking, biting, scratching, shaking, slapping, dragging, burning, inappropriately restraining or confining, inappropriately medicating, and damage to property.

Psychological Abuse: inflicting mental anguish through actions that cause fear of violence, isolation or deprivation, and feelings of shame and powerlessness.  It may include verbal intimidation, humiliation or embarrassment, shouting, bullying, threats of physical harm, threats of institutionalisation, withdrawal of affection (e.g. refusing access to grandchildren), emotional blackmail, damage to, or removal of property and possessions, removal of decision-making powers, or preventing access to services.

Sexual Abuse: unwanted sexual behaviour including rape, indecent assault, sexual harassment or inappropriate touching.

Financial Abuse: the illegal or improper use of an older person's finances or property.  It may include stealing, misappropriating money, forcing changes to a will or other legal documents, denying access to personal funds, forging signatures or misusing Power of Attorney.

Neglect: the failure of a carer to provide the necessities of life to a person for whom they are caring.  Neglect can be intentional or unintentional.  Intentional neglect is when an older person is abandoned or not provided with adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical or dental care, or where their spiritual needs are not met. It also includes improper use of medication, poor hygiene or personal care, or the refusal to allow other people to provide adequate care. Unintentional neglect occurs when a carer does not have the skills or knowledge to care for a dependent person. They may not be aware of the types of support available, or may be ill and unable to meet the person’s needs.

Social Abuse: preventing a person from having contact with friends or family, or access to social activities.  It includes intrusion, isolation, and preventing independence using threats, manipulation, and control.

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The ACT Elder Abuse Prevention Program

The ACT Elder Abuse Prevention Program aims to reduce and prevent incidents of elder abuse through community awareness raising, accessible information and referral systems, service response guidelines and staff training.

The Program is coordinated by the Office for Veterans and Seniors Affairs within the Community Services Directorate. The Elder Abuse Prevention Network (EAPN) and the ACT Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing (MACA) provide advice about this program.

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Older Persons Abuse Prevention Referral and Information Line (APRIL)

The Abuse Prevention Referral and Information Line (APRIL) is a confidential telephone service for callers who want to discuss elder abuse issues and seek advice and referral on options.

The service operates during business hours. The APRIL number is 02 6205 3535.

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ACT Elder Abuse Prevention Program Policy

The Policy outlines approaches for preventing and responding to abuse, roles and responsibilities of key agencies, and reporting requirements.

The ACT Government will be working with key agencies to implement the Policy and to ensure the best possible prevention and support strategies for the older members of our community.

ACT Elder Abuse Prevention Program Policy [PDF 293KB] [Word 2.2MB]

Elder Abuse Prevention Pathways

Elder Abuse Prevention Pathways provides a quick reference guide for service providers to respond to incidences of elder abuse.

Elder Abuse Prevention Pathways [PDF 1.4MB]

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