DM Valentine & Associates

 Financial abuse of older people


A recent research report prepared by Monash University and commissioned by State Trustees has found that older people are more likely to be financially abused by one of their children rather than by a stranger.

 

Although there is no comprehensive or reliable Victorian data about the incidence of “elder abuse”, on the data available to the researchers, 36 percent of victims were abused by their son, 37 percent by their daughter, with the remaining 37 percent of perpetrators being other people.

 

Examples of the types of abuse included:
* Forging of signature
* Credit card abuse
* Misappropriation (ie., stealing) pension funds
* Transferring property titles – sometimes in exchange for a promise to care for the elder person – and then not keeping their promise
* Persuading the victim to change his or her Will.

 

A range of potential measures to counteract this disturbing trend was listed in the report, including
* Raising awareness of elder abuse within the community
* Encouraging appointment financial Power of Attorneys
* Changing laws to criminalize financial and other abuse of elders.
However, the report also warned that potential responses need to be carefully considered in case they actually make the problem worse, for example, by making elder victims less lkely to report abuse.