National Elder Abuse Prevalence Study Final Report

The findings are based on a survey of a representative sample of 7,000 community dwelling people aged 65 and over (the Survey of Older People (SOP)). These findings provide estimates of how many people aged 65 and over have experienced elder abuse in the past 12 months. They also assess the most common forms of abuse, the characteristics of those who are most likely to experience abuse, who commits abuse and what people do when they experience abuse. Further areas of focus in the SOP include whether older Australians have wills, whether they have executed powers of attorney and whether they are involved in family agreements colloquially known as ‘granny flat’ arrangements.

An additional survey of 3,400 people aged between 18 and 64 examined views about older people and levels of awareness of elder abuse in the community (the Survey of the General Community (SGC)). It also looked at the extent to which people in the community provide support to older people in the context of assisting with care, financial arrangements and power of attorney arrangements.

The research program also included a focus on the experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) groups in both the SOP and the SGC. CALD participants in the SOP were asked about their experiences of abuse relating to language and culture, in addition to their experience of the five core subtypes. This report examines similarities and differences in elder abuse experiences between the non-CALD and CALD subsamples in both the SOP and the SGC.

It is important to note that the SOP focused on people who live in the community and did not cover people who live in aged care or could not participate in the survey due to cognitive decline. The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has recently estimated that the prevalence of physical abuse, emotional abuse and neglect in aged care settings is 39.2%.