Abuse of older adults includes a number of behaviours that cause harm to an older person's wellbeing or safety. The abuse can take on many forms, including physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse and neglect. It can happen to anyone. Older adults are often isolated from their family, friends and community, making them particularly vulnerable to abuse. Many are dependent on the very people that are abusing them, further complicating the matter. But elder abuse can happen to any older person.
Understanding the types of elder abuse, the signs of abuse and who the potential abusers are is key to preventing elder abuse.
Although there is not a specific law that deals with elder abuse many forms of elder abuse can be dealt with under laws such as the criminal law, laws concerning victims of interpersonal violence, laws about power of attorney and consumer protection laws.
Understanding why victims of elder abuse and those who witness abuse may not report it is important for finding effective ways to take action against elder abuse.