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Elder abuse can happen in any type of family or relationship.


Elder abuse comes in many forms. It can be financial, emotional or psychological, physical, sexual, mistreatment or neglect. Elder abuse can occur once, or many times. It can include one or a combination of the different types of abuse.

Most often, elder abuse is carried out by someone known to the older person, with two thirds of abusers being an adult child. Abusers can also be other family members, relatives or friends. Elder abuse affects people of all genders and all walks of life. The abuse, however, disproportionately affects women. Two thirds of people seeking help from Seniors Rights Victoria are women.

Elder abuse can happen in any kind of family or relationship. It can range from a person not considering an older person’s needs to someone intentionally causing harm. Many forms of elder abuse can be criminal acts.

Seniors Rights Victoria provides information, support, advice and education to help prevent elder abuse and safeguard the rights, dignity and independence of older people. We help Victorians 60 and above, or any Indigenous Victorians 45 and above.

Seniors Rights Victoria develops various tip sheets on a multitude of subjects related to elder abuse. 

Financial abuse

Financial abuse

Financial abuse includes using an older person’s property, finances or other assets illegally or wrongly.

Abusers may borrow money and not repay it; use the older person’s bank accounts, credit cards, online banking or digital passwords without permission; apply pressure to hand over personal property like jewellery; or misuse an Enduring Power of Attorney. Financial abuse can also include refusing to contribute to rent or other household expenses when living with an older person.
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Psychological and emotional abuse

Psychological and emotional abuse happens when an abuser causes an older person emotional pain, anguish, or distress, or does not treat them with respect. It may include name-calling, yelling or swearing at an older person, treating the older person like a child or regularly blaming them when things go wrong.
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Psychological and 
emotional abuse
Physical abuse

Physical abuse

Physical abuse is any act or behaviour which causes pain, hurt or injury. Physical abuse includes hitting or shoving the older person, or restraining a person by tying them to a chair or a bed, or locking them in a room, building or yard. Wrongly giving an older person alcohol, medications, household chemicals or poisons is also physical abuse.
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Social abuse

Social abuse isolates a person from family, friends, social groups and services. The abuser may withhold mail; not allow phone calls or listen in on calls; or prevent the older person’s involvement in religious or cultural practices.
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Social abuse
Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual contact, language or behaviour, and includes rape; rough or inappropriate touching or washing of an older person’s genital areas; and watching sexually explicit material or making sexually explicit phone calls around the older person without their consent.
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Neglect

Neglect is when someone’s everyday needs are not provided for. It includes restricting food, medical care, warmth or dental care. Family friends or a carer might receive the Carer Allowance but not actually provide care.
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Neglect
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If you, or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse, help is available through our confidential helpline on 1300 368 821. If it is an emergency, call 000.
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