- Developing national elder abuse advocacy response protocols
- Creating a national decision making system to support older people, especially those living with dementia
- Implementing a national elder abuse minimum dataset
- Mapping elder abuse referral and support pathways in each state and territory
- Researching special needs of rural and remote populations
Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Bank is extending its domestic and family violence support program due to customer need, with its helpline receiving about 90,000 calls in the first month.
Initially launched as a 12-month pilot in November 2017, the CBA Domestic and Family Violence Emergency Assistance Program will continue indefinitely as a result of the volume of customers requiring help.
Describing financial abuse as a hidden epidemic, CBA is committing about $20 million in prevention and support initiatives, including training branch staff and financial counsellors in identifying and supporting potential victims.
In June, the Australian Banking Association, National Seniors, Council on the Ageing, Older Persons Action Network and the Financial Services Union joined forces to lobby Government to allow the safe reporting of suspected elder financial abuse by bank staff.
“Bank staff unfortunately all too often see people who are their customers being pressured to give access to their accounts, all too often see their accounts being drained by family members, by friends that they trust and care about,” ABA chief executive Anna Bligh said.
Financial abuse is most commonly seen here at Estate Battles. It is the improper or illegal use of an older person’s funds, property or resources. We believe it’s important to protect seniors against exploitation and abuse.
Examples of financial elder abuse:
- Acquaintances of older people suddenly becoming very close who through fraud or threats excludes other members of the family and hijacks the finances of the older person.
- Attorneys under a Power of Attorney documents misusing the older person’s money or assets for their own benefit.
- A carer of an older person who assists in the finances of the older person utilising credit cards and other resources of the older person for their own personal use and enjoyment.
- Assets being given away by the older person to one child for reasons which the older person does not really grasp or is duped into believing is appropriate in the circumstances (when it is not).
How to protect the elderly from financial abuse:
- Maintain open communication with the older person
- Take any concerns seriously
- Watch for changes in older person’s appearance or mood
- Recognise signs of financial abuse, such as unpaid bills or missing money
- The biggest risk factor for financial abuse is cognitive impairment in the older person. Ensure that the correct legal protections are in place
What if I suspect elder financial abuse is happening?
Seek legal advice immediately. The sooner you seek help the easier it is to remedy the situation. Once assets are sold or spent, it is unlikely that they can be restored. If you suspect that a loved one is experiencing financial abuse, please contact us for a free, 10-minute phone consultation.