Seniors Rights Victoria, in partnership with the National Ageing Research Institute, analysed seven years of advice call data to produce this report about elder abuse in Victoria. Seven Years of Elder Abuse Data in Victoria gives an overview of who experiences abuse, who is responsible for perpetrating abuse, and what some of the contributing factors are. This project was funded by the State Trustees Australia Foundation. Highlights of the report include:
- Over the seven years, the service has continued to grow, with a steep increase in the number of advice calls following the tabling of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence in early 2016.
- The advice call clients were 72% women and 28% men.
- Most clients (78%) lived in the Melbourne Greater Metropolitan area and were aged 70 or over (72%).
- Almost two thirds of clients disclosed that they had experienced psychological abuse (63%) or financial abuse (62%), with many clients experiencing more than one type of abuse. Approximately 16% of clients experienced physical abuse and 11% social abuse (11%). Relatively few calls were received for neglect (1.2%) and sexual abuse (0.8%).
- Almost all abuse (91%) experienced by advice call clients was perpetrated by a family member, most commonly sons (39%) or daughters (28%).
- The majority of perpetrators were men (54%), however, the proportion of female perpetrators varied by ten per cent (41 to 51%) during the seven-years, reaching 51% in one 12-month period.
- Drug, alcohol or gambling issues afflicted a rising number of perpetrators, averaging 35% over the seven-year period.
- Mental health issues were experienced by an increasing number of perpetrators, rising to 39% in the most recent period.
In August 2020 an online panel discussion was held to launch the report. Hosted by Commissioner for Senior Victorians Gerard Mansour, the panellists discussed elder abuse occurring within the family and some of the contributing factors affecting perpetrators.
The panellists were:
- Rebecca Edwards, Principal Lawyer, Seniors Rights Victoria
- Professor Briony Dow, Director of the National Ageing Research Institute
- Elena Campbell, Associate Director: Research, Advocacy & Policy at the Centre for Innovative Justice
- Meghan O’Brien, Head of Social Work at Peninsula Health.
You can watch a recording of the panel discussion below. There were so many questions asked during the webinar that we didn’t have time to answer them at the time but our team put together some responses after the event. You can read them here. A PDF version is available here.