Speaking to 7News, Anna Bligh, Australian Banking Association chief executive, highlights that around 10% of senior Australians have had to live through abuse across multiple categories, including financial, emotional, physical, legal or neglect.
She clearly advocates, “What we are calling for today is for federal and state Attorneys-General to commit to a timeline to deliver reforms that will ensure older Australians are protected from financial abuse.”
Drawing together, community groups, business organisations, advocates and policy makers are making the call united, gathering together in Hobart so as to push forward in eliminating elder abuse.
Kay Patterson, the ABA and the Age Discrimination Commissioner, has directly called for the 2017 Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry recommendations into elder abuse acted upon and firmly established into law.
Within the recommendations handed down in 2017 are nationally unified laws overseeing enduring powers of attorney, financial, medical and personal being included within this oversight, and additionally to create and maintain a clear national register of power of attorney instruments.
Critics profess that while some states may have unique approaches established, there is no unified system to oversee management of cases or to report suspected financial abuse. Many believe, due to this lack of systemic oversight, numerous incidents have likely not been investigated and have subsequently slipped through the cracks.
Ms Bligh conveys that the banks have established initiatives to support the mitigation of elder abuse, however, the complexity perpetuated by the disharmony of laws between jurisdictions raises too high a barrier for significant progress.
She says, “The effect of it is confusion for older people and their attorneys, unnecessary complexity for banks and other entities.”
Ms Bligh adds, “It creates a system that contributes to financial abuse.”
To the point of responsibility, Dr Patterson is direct: elder abuse is everyone’s concern.
“This conference provides an important platform for us to share knowledge, exchange best practices and cultivate ideas about how we can work together to ensure older Australians can live their later years free from psychological, financial and all other forms of abuse,” Dr Patterson asserts.