What is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse, a form of family violence, is the mistreatment of an older person by someone with whom the older person has a relationship of trust.

This abuse can best be described as a controlling behaviour or action which frightens or intimidates its victims violating an older person’s basic right to feel safe. It may be physical, social, financial, psychological or sexual and can include mistreatment and neglect. Perpetrators of this kind of abuse can include a partner, family member, friend, carer or an older person experiencing cognitive decline who exhibits abusive behaviours toward an older carer or partner.

Sometimes family, friends and carers may not know that their actions amount to elder abuse.

Where does this abuse occur?

Elder abuse can occur in many contexts including the home and residential care settings. It can be perpetrated by family members, friends and non-family members trusted by the older person. Most elder abuse occurs within the family or in a domestic setting with the most common form being ‘intergenerational’ which is perpetrated by an adult child against their parent.

Elder abuse should not be confused with professional misconduct by paid employees such as carers/nurses; self-neglect (which is not regarded as elder abuse in Australia); unequal consumer transactions and/or scams that target older people or criminal acts perpetrated by a stranger on an older person, all of which are not forms of elder abuse. (Seniors Rights Victoria)


This film is ideal to be shown at Rotary Clubs, to organisations working with the aged, and to the general public.  It carries the message that we must not be an inactive bystander,  we must apply the 3 RRR's of Rotary SAFE Families:

  1. Recognise – the signs, behaviours and culture that drive abuse
  2. Raise – your concerns safely with victim/possible victim
  3. Refer – for support (000 emergency/1800RESPECT or suitable agency OR Make the call yourself!

Watch the films with their powerful messages around learning to recognise abuse, be informed and able to safely raise your concerns and then refer the victim or possible victim, to Police (if emergency) and/or an appropriate support agency in your neighbourhood.  If victim prefers not to approach referral, you make the call yourself and ask for information.)

Discussion notes for post viewing of the Elder Abuse film

These questions may facilitate an open discussion after viewing the film.

  1. Can you identify a "hero" from this film?  Possibly from the vignettes shown?
  2. Can you see how the "3RRR's" approach can provide the safest way to find support for the victim?  How is this achieved?
  3. What are the most alarming details from this film?
  4. What might you be able to do if faced with an incident of elder abuse to someone you know?
  5. What do you take from this film that might be useful for you?

Sourced from Seniors Rights Victoria website

Sourced from Seniors Rights Victoria website

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