Elder abuse can be very complex; without adequate education of what constitutes this form of abuse, the perpetrator may be unaware their actions are abusive.
Senior Rights Victoria’s help line data for the past two years points to the fact that 90% of alleged perpetrators of elder abuse were related to the older person; often an adult son or daughter, or estranged ex-partner. Part of the reason this form of abuse is under reported is the disbelief that a family member could behave in such a predatory way. The difficulty of raising the issue with the family member, let alone instigating legal action is in many cases too much to bear.
One of the possible reasons elder abuse is becoming more common is that we live in a technology focused society that sometime alienates the older generations and enables the younger generations to have the upper-hand.
In this environment, older people can be treated with contempt and seen as a ‘waste of space’; yet the vast majority of seniors have paid their taxes over many years and contributed much to the lives of their children. Ageing and the resulting deterioration in health is natural and we should value and look after our seniors.
PCLC recognizes that elder abuse is a form of family violence, and that the behavior of perpetrators and the safety of victims can be similar to intimate partner violence.
However, while elder abuse is a form of family violence and faces some of the same barriers to prevention; the risk factors, relationship dynamics and outcomes are unique. The majority of elder abuse victims are women, often from CALD backgrounds, although it is important to note the victims are sometimes male with female perpetrators.
“The particular nature of the parent-child relationship and how it is affected by external pressure due to family conflict; the rising cost of living, the care needs of the parent, mental and physical issues of the child, can influence elder abuse. A history of family conflict/violence can also affect the parent-child relationship.” says Kate Ross, Director of Legal Services.
We provide free advice and employ a sensitive, respectful and understanding approach combined with expert legal advice. PCLC has expertise in a variety of areas of law with specialist services in family law/ family violence, fines and tenancy issues. We offer day and evening appointments at our Frankston, Bentleigh, Cranbourne and Rosebud offices. We are one of the largest community based legal centres in Australia.
For more information about free legal services, please call (03) 9783 3600 or visit www.pclc.org.au.
contact: Siobhan Kenny, Communications Officer
PNINSULA COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE INC.