The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has released its Discussion Paper on law reform options to address elder abuse.

Australia has a rapidly ageing population and, with it, increasing rates of elder abuse.  The ALRC is looking at how Australian laws can better protect older Australians, and has released a Discussion Paper—Elder Abuse (DP 83), with 43 proposals for law reform.

Elder abuse usually refers to the abuse or neglect of older people by family, friends and carers. Psychological and financial abuse are common types of elder abuse. Financial abuse includes such things as taking an older person's money or belongings, forcing them to sell their home or hand over assets, moving into their home without permission, and incurring bills which the older person is left to pay. Physical assault and neglect are among other disturbing types of elder abuse.

The ALRC Discussion Paper on Elder Abuse includes proposals for law reform that focus on powers of investigation for public advocates and public guardians, enduring powers of attorney and enduring guardianship, family agreements, banking, aged care and social security.

The ALRC is calling for feedback on its proposals from the public. If you have encountered elder abuse or have expertise in the area, please take a look at the Discussion Paper and let them know your thoughts.

The Discussion Paper is available on the ALRC's website.  Submissions are due to the ALRC by 27 February 2017.

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