New research to help measure elder abuse


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Content type
Media release

January 2018

 Abuse of older people is a complex and sometimes hidden problem in Australia. To help build on the growing body of knowledge on the issue, the Elder Abuse National Research Project is currently underway, led by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS). 

“As older people make up an increasing proportion of the Australian population the potential reach of the abuse of older people may grow,” said Rachel Carson, Manager of the Family Law and Family Violence Team at AIFS. 

“To protect older people from abuse, we must first be able to identify and measure the extent of the problem,” she said. 

The Elder Abuse National Research Project consists of three components: 

  • Component One: Develop an Australian definition of “elder abuse”. 
  • Component Two: Test data collection tools against the definition, to see if it will work for the Australian context 
  • Component Three: Analyse the data to help answer key questions about the abuse of older people.  

“We’re keen to make sure that we’re measuring the right things in the future,” said Dr Carson. 

“We’ve been speaking with a range of interested people, including community advocates, policy makers and service providers to help inform our research focusing on the definition of “elder abuse”. 

“Anyone who would like to contribute their views about what defines abuse of older people can contact the project team before the end of January by email: [email protected] or phone (03) 9214 7865. 

The project will be completed by 30 June 2018 and is funded by the Australian Government’s Attorney General’s Department. AIFS is conducting the research in partnership with the National Ageing Research Institute, the Social Research Centre and the Social Policy Research Centre. 

To sign up to the e-news for project updates go to the Elder Abuse National Research Strengthening the Evidence Base project webpage.

Media contact     
Kate O'Connor      
Phone: 0499 860 257  
Email: kate.o'[email protected]