Abuse of elders, particularly by family members, continues to be rife though there is a growing awareness of the problem. The behaviour may be taking place even in subtle ways, such as a disregard for parents or close elderly family members that we may take for granted.

Elders, in turn, may consider themselves as being “in the way” and try not to cause any problems for the young. However, this entire train of thought and behaviour within families can easily fall within the abusive category.

More often than not, abusive behaviour is closely associated with financial issues, with cases as varied as people taking money from their elderly parents for their own personal needs all the way to property theft. And it is this very situation that the Police of Victoria, in association with the State Trustees, are attempting to tackle with their new initiative.

Their collaboration is aimed at informing people of the rights that older people have, as in several cases not even the victims themselves are aware that they are being abused or what steps they can take to prevent it.

As the State Trustees Relationship Manager, Luke Wright pointed out, there are many administrators with experience in the field that can help a person discern a behaviour as abusive or non-abusive: “We see a range of cases involving transfer of property and theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars from our clients’ bank accounts, to cases where the older person is deprived of access to their pension and is at risk of eviction because their rent hasn’t been paid,” said Mr Wright.

“Often the financial abuse is perpetrated by the person’s son or daughter.”

An act as simple as using an elderly parent’s bank account to pay for the weekly shopping or filling up a car’s gas tank is considered abusive, if not done without proper consent from the owner of the account, as the State Trustees mentioned.

Victoria Police now have special units in order to identify these particular cases that have received special training in order to be able to properly communicate with older people that suffer from diseases such as dementia.

Following the same lines of this initiative, PRONIA have sent out an open invitation to anyone who would like to attend their Plan For The Future events, which will give people information in regards to how they can make their own decisions for their lives, their medical treatment and when and how to use the “power of attorney” and “advance care directive documents.”

These events will take place in three different areas (West Sunshine, Clayton and Brunswick) in the first week of May.

If you or anyone you know suspect that you are falling victim to abusive behaviour, or would like to know more about this topic, don’t hesitate to call the Domestic Family Violence 24/7 Counselling Service at: 1800 737 337