Inquiry into Elder Abuse – terms of reference announced.

Date: May 18, 2016

The Terms of Reference for the Inquiry into Elder Abuse have been announced by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC). The inquiry had been first announced at the National Elder Abuse Conference in Melbourne in February by the Attorney-General George Brandis. The ALRC will form a strategy to strengthen the preferences and rights of people who may require support in decision-making.. The inquiry, announced in 2014, ties in with concerns over the relationship between family violence, disability and treatment of the elderly. 

So what specifically will the inquiry examine?

The ALRC will deliver its report back to the attorney general by May 2017. The terms of reference include:

  • Whether legal frameworks appropriately protect and safeguard older Australians
  • Whether older Australians are protected form having their rights interfered with
  • How United Nations rights affect older Australians

The ALRC report will invoke the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs' findings about  abuse, violence and neglect against disabled people. The inquiry aims not only to prevent and mitigate abuse but will work out how abuse against older Australians can be better reported, remedied and penalised. 

Elder abuse: a disgrace to the state

NSW has not always been kind to its elderly. Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association senior advisor Paul Versteege told NSW Parliament in a public hearing in February 2016 that assaults in nursing homes have increased  86 per cent since 2009, far outstripping the 20 per cent rise in population within nursing homes. 

"Elder abuse is a serious issue and it is rife," Versteege said, while calling on NSW's government to mandate staff-to-resident ratios. "Aged care providers get away with resident-on-resident assault and not managing it as well as they could."

"We all recognise that aged care providers are under pressure [and] violence is a logical consequence of that."

Versteege also told the inquiry hearing that as few as 1-2 people staff nursing homes on certain shifts.

Help is here

Abuse comes in many forms, from neglect to assault to failure of duty of care. Luckily, assistance comes in many forms, too, including lawyers who fight for compensation. One of those forms is sound legal representation to make those who harm our most vulnerable people compensate. Gerard Malouf and Partners offers expertise covering a range of areas under which an elderly person may have been injured, from assault to slips and falls to medical negligence. If an elderly person has suffered and you would like compensation lawyers to make it right, it's important to get in touch to see how we can help. 

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.