When it comes to the mistreatment, exploitation and neglect of older people, the abuse tends to be similar to domestic violence, says Adjunct Associate Professor at Charles Sturt University's Centre for Law and Justice Susan Field. This is due to the "insidious" nature of it.
As well as being a researcher and lecturer, the Orange-based expert in elder abuse was previously a solicitor at a legal firm that specialised in Elder Law.
"The law is no different for older people then it is for younger people but as we age, some things take on more importance and become more pressing," she told the Central Western Daily.
Some of these issues include decisions around where to live, who to live with and who will make decisions on a person's behalf if they become unable or unwilling to make those decisions themselves.
The professor describes elder abuse as "any criminal, physical or emotional harm, or unethical taking-advantage [which] negatively affects the physical, financial or general wellbeing of an elderly person".
"[It's] physical, it's psychological, it's emotional, and it can be sexual, unfortunately, as well," she added. "And if you've got financial abuse, then you're going to have emotional and psychological abuse associated with it," she explained.
"Elder abuse itself is an integral part of Elder Law. And it's an integral part, unfortunately, of ageing."
The number of people experiencing elder abuse in NSW or even Australia is incredibly hard to pin down because perpetrators are overwhelmingly the victims' own children, the professor explained.
To report your own children to the police for abuse carries an enormous "shame factor". Other victims simply don't know that what they are enduring at the hands of members of their family is abuse.
"What we do know is of those cases reported, usually to Elder Abuse Hotlines, is that the most common forms of elder abuse are psychological and financial... As to why this occurs can generally be summed up in one word - greed - although we often use the term 'inheritance impatience'," Prof. Field recently wrote in a short article about the topic during Law Week.
The elder law expert is part of a newly-formed collaboration of Orange professionals and social sector workers trying to combat elder abuse in the region. The group includes Legal Aid, financial counsellors and an Aged Crime Prevention police officer. The organisation recently began holding community consultations to try and help those impacted by elder abuse while also teaching individuals how to minimise it occurring to them as they age.
"My goal, I suppose, is to have more far education [around elder abuse]," Prof. Field said.
"Education of all the professionals [who deal with older people], education of the community [and] education of the older people themselves - because sometimes, we don't realise that we are actually in a situation of elder abuse... because it's insidious."
Ahead of World Elder Abuse Day (on June 15), the Ageing and Disability Commissioner will be hosted by the Orange elder abuse network at the CWA Hall at Robertson Park on June 10 from 10am - midday.
Bookings are essential and can be made through the Community Services Centre on 6393 8600
If you or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse, call the Elder Abuse Helpline & Resource Unit on 1800 628 221.
For counselling and support with domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
In an emergency, call 000.
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