1.  Elder Abuse in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities: Developing Best Practice

In 2011 our researchers completed the project titled "Elder Abuse in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities: Developing Best Practice"  This research was a joint venture between Advocare, Home and Community Care (HACC) and the Centre for Vulnerable Children and Families. The report attempts to identify the commonalities between this study and earlier Western Australian research on this topic. Thirty one recommendations were made.

View the report via the following link:

Elder Abuse in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities: Developing Best Practice 

Key Findings of the Report:

Key findings of the report can be categorised under the following themes -

  • Cultural responses to abuse
  • The impact of migration
  • Translation and interpreter issues
  • Language barriers, increased vulnerability and decreased access
  • Isolation
  • Issues working with elder abuse - for clients
  • Issues working with elder abuse - for workers
  • Information, education and training
  • Building alliances and professional relationships
  • Service development

2. Examination of the extent of Elder Abuse in Western Australia: A Qualitive and Quantitative Investigation of Existing Agency Data

Funding from Lotterywest enabled collaboration between APEA:WA, Advocare Inc. and researchers from UWA to investigate the topic "Examination of the Extent of Elder Abuse in Western Australia: A Qualitative and Quantitative Investigation of Existing Agency Data.”   The research was launched by retired District Court Judge, Antoinette Kennedy, at a function at Citiplace, Perth, Western Australia on 15 June 2011.

View the report via the following link:

Elder Abuse Research Report 2011.pdf

Key Findings of the Report:

  • Issues with the definition of elder abuse – different definitions used nationally, internationally and between different APEA: WA organisations. The definition of ‘elder’ is also contested
  • Financial abuse is the most frequently recorded type of abuse with the misuse of Enduring Powers of Attorney being the most frequently mentioned financial abuse issue
  • Data suggests an overall trend for an increasing volume of cases of elder abuse in WA.  Since there is no uniformity in the way statistics are gathered, it is difficult to get an accurate estimate of the extent of elder abuse in WA
  •  No evident cohesive approach to elder abuse across government and non-government organisations
  •  In terms of public awareness, elder abuse lags far behind issues such as child abuse and domestic violence.

Key Recommendations of the report:

  •  Review of the Concept of Elder Abuse
  • Organise a community debate to determine an accurate definition of elder abuse
  • Convene a national conference in Perth where visiting speakers focus critical academic and professional attention on the issue
  • Arrange a series of community seminars involving child protection and domestic violence services to explore commonalities and differences with elder abuse policy and practice
  • Funding needs to be sought for an ongoing public education campaign.

Financial Abuse, Fraud, Enduring Powers of Attorney Legislation and Banks

  • Banks to develop policies, practices, educational programs and regulatory measures to reduce the risk and incidence of financial abuse of older people
  • Uniform federal legislation on Enduring Powers of Attorney to be developed and a national system for registering and auditing to be implemented
  • Research to be undertaken on the effectiveness of current and alternative methods of resolving elder abuse.

Statutory Authority and Responses to Elder Abuse

  • Develop a risk-assessment process to ensure the most vulnerable people are not falling through the gaps;
  • A lead government agency to be identified and given the responsibility of developing and coordinating responses to elder abuse across WA;
  • Explore a pilot program of the Case Management inter-agency model involving Advocare, the Health Department of WA, the WA Police and other service-providing agencies;
  • A review of Elder Law be undertaken, with specific regard to Enduring Power of Attorney, Guardianship and the registration of wills;

Towards Integrated Policy and Practice

  • Advocare to seek funding to provide sector-wide training to service provider agencies on elder abuse;
  • A review of the current network of service agencies responding to allegations of different types of elder abuse;
  • The development of elder abuse protocols for all agencies responding to the issue, and a referral guide for service providers;
  • Explore the design and implementation options for a statewide inter-agency electronic data register;