Elder abuse

While we’re able to investigate allegations of abuse against any adult aged 18 and older with impaired decision-making capacity (which includes adults with a learning or intellectual disability), most of our investigations involve vulnerable people aged 65 and older.

Awareness of elder abuse has been growing over the past few years, with a report by the Australian Institute of Family Studies saying that:

  • it is likely that between 2% and 14% of older Australians experience elder abuse in any given year, with the prevalence of neglect possibly higher
  • most elder abuse occurs within families and between generations (intra-familial and intergenerational)
  • financial abuse seems to be the most-common form of elder abuse and psychological abuse seems to occur at the same time as financial abuse.

Source: Kaspiew, R., Carson, R., & Rhoades, H. (2015). Elder abuse: Understanding issues, frameworks and responses (Research Report No. 35). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

The Queensland Government has information to help you recognise the signs of elder abuse as well as contact details for support services. These resources may be valuable if an adult has capacity to make their own decisions, as in these cases the OPG is unable to investigate.