Elder abuse is one of the most under-reported crimes in Australia and yet is on the rise as our population ages.
What is elder abuse?
Elder abuse is: “any act within a relationship of trust that results in harm to an older person”. This can include physical violence, sexual violence, emotional abuse, neglect and financial abuse. The most common type of elder abuse is financial abuse, which occurs when family members or caregivers try to gain control of the older person’s financial resources to use them inappropriately. The most common perpetrator of financial abuse is the adult children of the older person.
How to detect elder abuse
The first step an abuser will take is to isolate the victim. Isolation makes it difficult for anyone on the outside to see or speak to the victim. It is easier for an abuser to obtain full control over an isolated victim, including obtaining a Power of Attorney so that they have access to the older person’s financial resources.
Signs that an older person might be being financially abused include:
- Family members are suddenly excluded from access to the older person
- A Power of Attorney is used to obtain an ‘early inheritance’
- Unusual transactions in the older person’s bank accounts or credit cards
- Assets being ‘gifted’ to family members
- An older person has suddenly changed his or her will
If you suspect an older person is being financially abused, seek help immediately. At Estate Battles, we most commonly represent victims of financial abuse.
You can also call the Queensland Government Elder Abuse Prevention Unit Hotline: 1300 651 192