Elder abuse in Australia has become more visible with increased reporting, and the prevalence of this abuse appears to be growing. Estimates indicate that between two and 14 per cent of older Australians experience abuse. The Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) was introduced in residential aged care on 1 April 2021, however it does not currently apply to home and community care settings.
Recent reports and reviews have highlighted the need to implement consistent safeguards for older Australians across all service settings, including for the more than 900,000 older Australians accessing aged care services in their home or community. This need was also acknowledged by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (Royal Commission), which recommended the extension of the SIRS to home and community care settings (Recommendation 100). In the 2021-22 Budget, the Australian Government announced funding of an initial $14 million to expand the SIRS from residential aged care into home and community care from 1 July 2022. This will provide greater protections to consumers receiving home and community aged care services.