Elder Abuse: Everyone’s business

Monday 15 June was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the internationally recognised day to focus public attention on the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue.  

Elder abuse is a form of family violence and is often perpetrated by a family member or carer and can often go unnoticed. The abuse may be psychological, physical, social, financial or sexual and can include mistreatment and neglect. The World Health Organisation describes elder abuse as a violation of human rights and a significant cause of illness, loss of productivity, isolation and despair. (WHO 2002 Active Ageing Policy Framework). As such, it is an issue that affects not only the person who is impacted directly but also the broader community. 

The current COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges and an increased level of risk for those experiencing family violence. This includes concerns there could be more cases of elder abuse in the community as older people are some of the most isolated groups in society during the pandemic. This is why it’s important to know and familiarise yourself with the signs of elder abuse. The Seniors Rights Victoria website and the Monash Health Family Violence Clinical Guideline have some good information on the signs of elder abuse and further details on the process of responding to suspected elder abuse.  

If you aren’t sure what to do, secondary consultations are available – contact Monash Health’s Elder Abuse Liaison Officer, Selina Nivelle.  

On Monday 15 June, we held an online event for our employees to increase their understanding of how to recognise and respond to potential cases of elder abuse and to help provide them with a better understanding of changes to guardianship laws and how they support the human rights of older people. 

Missed the event or concerned about an older person 


Approved by Katrina Nankervis, Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Executive Director Residential Care and Support Services

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