Over the past year there have been many reports of “elder abuse” – the abuse and neglect of older people. While many recent reports have revealed shocking problems in retirement villages and aged care, statistically the abuse of older people is most often caused by family members or someone trusted by the older person.

It is the private and personal nature of elder abuse that makes it difficult to know how often and to whom it is happening.

The abuse of older people occurs in all cultures and across all levels of society. The World Health Organisation estimates 1 in 6 older people have experienced abuse in the past year.

In Australia it is estimated to affect at least 1 in 20 people, but with little to no research to date the extent of the problem is unknown.

Elder abuse takes many forms including financial, psychological, neglect, and physical.

The financial exploitation of seniors is the most common type of abuse reported to organisations that assist older people such Seniors Rights Service and the Elder Abuse Helpline and Resource Unit.

The abuse of older people abuse ranges from seemingly trivial matters such as the theft of small amounts of money, to an older person being forced into selling their home.

In February 2018 Seniors Rights Service, the community legal centre for older people in NSW, is hosting the 5th National Elder Abuse Conference.

This event will brings over 400 people together to exchange ideas and solutions to elder abuse. Sessions are in themes including legal, health, social and policy with an understanding that elder abuse is both systemic and very personal.

Presentations will also focus on how elder abuse affects disadvantaged and vulnerable older people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

The Conference has attracted many high-level speakers including Anna Bligh AC, CEO Australian Bankers Association; HON Ken Wyatt AM MP, Commonwealth Minister for Aged Care; Nicholas Cowdery AM, QC, Former Director of Public Prosecutions and Human Rights Promoter; Jane Caro Social Commentator, Writer, Lecturer; with M.C. Virginia Trioli.

Register now to confirm your place at 5th National Elder Abuse Conference Together Making Change: http://togethermakingchange.org.au/