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Elder abuse

Elder abuse is any action, or lack of action, deliberate or unintentional, which causes distress, harm, or serious risk of harm to an older person, or loss or damage to property or assets.

Information about elder abuse, and its signs and effects, is available on the South Australian Health

See also : and the SA Elder Abuse Prevention Phone Line number: 1800 372 310

Types of elder abuse

Indirect abuse

Elder abuse can be indirect, for example threats to harm someone the victim is close to and this causes the victim dist distress.

Similarly, a person commits an act of abuse if they:

  • cause someone else to abuse the victim
  • allow someone else to abuse the victim
  • cause or allow someone to participate in an act of abuse

Emotional and psychological abuse

Emotional or psychological harm includes:

  • unlawful deprivation of liberty
  • driving a vehicle in a reckless manner while the vicitm is a passenger
  • causing the death of, or injury to, an animal
  • entering or interfering with property in your possession, or causing property damage
  • threatening to institutionalise a person
  • threatening to cause a person physical injury, or emotional or psychological harm
  • unreasonably denying financial, social or domestic autonomy
  • directing racial or other derogatory taunts at a person.

Unreasonable and non-consensual denial of financial, social or personal autonomy

Examples of unreasonable and non-consensual denial of financial, social or personal autonomyinclude:

  • denying a person the financial autonomy they would have had but for the abuse
  • withholding financial support necessary for meeting reasonable living expenses where a person is dependent on the financial support to meet those living expenses
  • causing a person, through coercion or deception to: relinquish control over assets or income; or claim social security payments; or sign a contract of guarantee or sign a power of attorney enabling your finances to be managed by another person
  • preventing a person from seeking or keeping employment
  • preventing a person from making or keeping connections with your family, friends or cultural group, from participating in cultural or spiritual ceremonies or practices or from expressing your cultural identity
  • exercising an unreasonable level of control and domination over another's daily life.
Elder abuse  :  Last Revised: Wed Oct 21st 2015
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.