4 elderly people in conversation around armchair laughing

Everyone has the right to live their lives free from abuse.

Respect older people and call out ageism, listen to older people and their carers and check in with vulnerable older people. Elder abuse is hard to picture, but it happens everyday. What starts out small doesn't always stay that way for long.

What is elder abuse?

Any act which causes harm to an older person and is carried out by someone they know and trust such as a family member or friend. It may involve taking someone’s money or possessions, not providing necessary care, making threats or stopping an older person’s social contacts, as well as physical or sexual abuse.

A person affected by elder abuse may:

  • act fearfully or withdrawing
  • show signs of stress, anxiety or depression
  • may show signs of bruising or other physical injuries
  • may not have the ability to pay normal bills or have unpaid bills

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD)

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is commemorated each year on 15 June to highlight one of the worst manifestations of ageism and inequality in our society, elder abuse.

Any older person can be affected by elder abuse and it’s not uncommon for an older person to be affected by more than one type.

Although incidents of abuse in aged care settings are often reported in the media, the majority of elder abuse is carried out by family members, both within aged care settings and at home “Elder abuse is a form of family violence. It is unacceptable and needs to be called out”.

Respect older people: call it out

Elder abuse is hard to picture, but it happens every day. What starts out small doesn't always stay that way for long.

Visit the Respect older people: call it out campaign

OPERA: Older People, Equity, Respect and Ageing

The OPERA project is a partnership between Eastern Community Legal Centre and Swinburne University. The project engages with older people in the Eastern Metropolitan Region of Melbourne about how ageing and age discrimination is experienced in our community.

It is every individual's right to feel safe, respected and valued.

The aim of the OPERA Project is to ensure that older people feel valued and respected in our community by challenging some of the harmful beliefs and attitudes that can lead to discrimination on the basis of age.

Learn more about the OPERA Project.

How you can stop elder abuse

  • stay connected in the community
  • plan for future
  • seek independent advice
  • develop a support network of trusted friends and professionals
  • seek help

If you need help, ask for it as soon as possible. Abuse doesn’t stop by itself.

Get help and assistance