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Attorneys-General Need to Act on Elder Abuse

Discrimination Age Discrimination

Age Discrimination Commissioner Dr Kay Patterson is calling on the Council of Attorneys-General to agree to take immediate action on elder abuse at their meeting tomorrow to develop a timetable outlining its action plan. 

“Elder abuse is a blight on our society.  Older Australians do not have time on their side, they need immediate action from Governments at state and federal levels,” said Dr Patterson.

Commissioner Patterson is calling for powers of attorney to be standardised across the country to help ensure that they are not mis-used.

Dr Patterson also supports calls for a national register of powers of attorney to further protect older Australians. 

“Far too often I hear stories of people whose power of attorney is being abused. A son or daughter chosen to help manage their parent’s finances may in fact be stealing their money or selling their house from under them. These actions often come from a sense of entitlement — but are illegal,” said Dr Patterson.

Earlier this year the Australian Guardianship and Administration Council developed options for standardising financial enduring powers of attorney.

These options have not yet been translated into action—tomorrow’s meeting of the Council of Attorneys-General provides an opportunity for real progress.

“Governments across the country need to work together to ensure better protection of older Australians from abuse by implementing the recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission’s 2017 report,” she said.

Media contact: Sarah Bamford 0417 957 525

Sarah.bamford@humanrights.gov.au

NOTE: Dr Patterson is available for interviews ahead of the embargo.