Elder abuse

Elder abuse is any act that causes harm to an older person and is carried out by someone they know and trust, usually a family member.

The abuse may be physical, social, financial, psychological, emotional, sexual and can include mistreatment and neglect.

The Royal Commission into Family Violence recognised elder abuse as a form of family violence featuring the unique dynamics between the older person and a family member such as an adult child. It can also present as short or long term intimate partner violence, carer abuse or stress and long standing family conflict.

For community information, factsheets and resources on elder abuse, visit Seniors Online.

Elder abuse prevention and response initiative

The Victorian Government established the Elder Abuse Prevention and Response Initiative. An Elder Abuse Prevention Advisory Group was also established to advise the Elder Abuse Prevention and Response Initiative. The Advisory Group consists of representatives from key sectors and government agencies.

The Advisory Group is now called the Elder Abuse and Safeguarding Advisory Group. The group advises the government on the needs and rights of older Victorians and informs related government priorities and initiatives.

In response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence, elder abuse investment has focussed on delivering:

  • primary prevention
  • early intervention
  • response activities. 

These activities include supporting:

  • a statewide elder abuse helpline
  • a counselling and mediation service at select Orange Doors
  • an Elder Abuse Learning Hub for professionals working with older people
  • a public awareness campaign and events.

Elder abuse activities can be grouped into prevention and response, but they are interrelated and not always distinct from one another.

While prevention is better than cure, any disclosure of elder abuse requires a response. This may be providing information and advice, or referral with the older person’s consent. Your response should include looking at ways to reduce the likelihood of the abuse escalating or recurring.

For more information, visit:

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing elder abuse, visit Elder abuse on our Services website for services that may be of assistance.


With respect to age - 2009