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Physical abuse

Physical abuse is the use of physical force that results in hurt, pain or injury to an older person. It may include physical restraint or the misuse of medications or drugs to control the older person.

Physical abuse can range from pushing or shoving to outright assault. It’s one of the most brutal types of abuse that violates an older person’s trust. Physical abuse is one of the more common types of abuse in domestic violence contexts.

Because of the ageing process, an older person might incur injuries more easily and take longer to recover because of the perpetrated physical abuse. The physical act may occur as an isolated incident or be part of an ongoing pattern of abuse. The perpetrator might claim that the physical abuse was an accident, such as they “slipped” when they shoved an older person.

In physical abuse cases, it’s not uncommon for the older person to explain away injuries or bruises as a fall or knock. This can happen if the older person is fearful of talking about the physical abuse because it might create a greater degree of abuse.

Physical abuse can happen when the perpetrator:

  • Hits, pushes or shoves the older person
  • Misuses medications 
  • Physically restrains the older person
  • Restricts movement
  • confines the older person to a room within the home
  • is violent or aggressive, including around the older person
Shauna is 75. Recently her only son, Patrick, moved back home with her after her husband died. Her son has substance abuse issues...
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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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