More protections needed for seniors to prevent Elder Abuse: Greens

Elder abuse is a growing concern – and one that will continue to grow as the population ages, Greens spokesperson for Seniors and Ageing Hon Alison Xamon MLC has said today, following the tabling of the final report of the Parliamentary Select Committee into Elder Abuse.

Ms Xamon, who took the role of deputy chair during the 12 month inquiry, said financial abuse was often not recognised as a form of elder abuse.

She said she hoped the report’s findings would help people to understand the range of behaviours that constituted abuse.

“One of the things the committee looked at was instances of the abuse of enduing power of attorney status,” Ms Xamon said.

“The interesting thing is that it is often not recognised as a form of abuse where a son or daughter might say, ‘I’m sure Mum would want me to have this,’

“But it is not acceptable – and it is illegal.”

Ms Xamon said the ‘granny flat’ example outlined in the report showed what could happen when good family relationships turned sour.

She said there were little legal protections in place for seniors who had combined their assets with their children’s.

“There needs to be tighter controls and avenues to recover lost money in instances such as if children do kick parents out,” Ms Xamon said.

“We must also ensure the police take the issue more seriously and act more swiftly when complaints are received.” 

Ms Xamon said she hoped the State Government will take steps to implement the recommendations made by today’s report.

She encouraged seniors who believed they may be the victim of abuse to contact Advocare Inc’s WA Elder Abuse Helpline on 1300 724 679.