Australia's Law Reform Commission has released its landmark report into elder abuse in the community. The report contains 43 recommendations and describes elder abuse as "Elder abuse as described by the WHO, is ‘a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person’.It can take various forms, such as physical abuse, psychological or emotional abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect."
"As stakeholders observed, elder abuse is ‘complex and multidimensional’ and requires a ‘multi-faceted response’. In this Report, the ALRC contributes to that response with a set of recommendations—traversing laws and legal frameworks across Commonwealth, state and territory laws—aimed at achieving a nationally consistent response to elder abuse. The ALRC has looked to the horizon and developed a conceptual template to guide future reform, and has identified immediate strategies and specific reforms to support older people’s autonomy and to safeguard against abuse."
ALRC President Professor Rosalind Croucher AM, Commissioner-in-charge of the inquiry, said, “In developing the recommendations in this Report, we have worked to balance the autonomy of older people with providing appropriate protections, respecting the choices that older persons make, but also safeguarding them from abuse.”
The ALRC is indebted to the broad range of individuals and organisations who have contributed to evidence base that informs its recommendations. In particular I thank the many individuals who generously shared with the ALRC personal stories of heartache and frustration, and of families torn apart by elder abuse. It is significant that the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon. George Brandis QC, has chosen to mark the launch of the Report today —with advocates and service providers —at the 2017 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Forum.”
he Report includes 43 recommendations for law reform. The overall effect will be to safeguard older people from abuse and support their choices and wishes through:
improved responses to elder abuse in residential aged care;
enhanced employment screening of care workers;
greater scrutiny regarding the use of restrictive practices in aged care;
building trust and confidence in enduring documents as important advanced planning tools;
protecting older people when ‘assets for care’ arrangements go wrong;
banks and financial institutions protecting vulnerable customers from abuse;
better succession planning across the self-managed superannuation sector;
adult safeguarding regimes protecting and supporting at-risk adults.
These outcomes should be further pursued through a National Plan to combat elder abuse and new empirical research into the prevalence of elder abuse.
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