Wednesday , November 13 2019
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Elder abuse the perfect crime

Elder abuse is the perfect crime, writes Professor Joseph E Ibrahim from Monash University’s Health Law and Ageing Research Unit.

The victims rarely complain, and if they do their complaints are scarcely heard. If anyone listens, action is unusual. And then they die.

We move on, relieved that the suffering of an older person has ended and released from our sense of guilt over failing to solve the problem.

Many of us are even more relieved to be able to continue denying the reality of our own ageing.

Take heart. You are not alone in these views. It is the way of our civilised society.

Promoting awareness of the thoughtless, exploitative, mean and sometimes criminal behaviours towards older people that is prevalent in our society is a miserable way to start our day.

Since 2012, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day has been observed on June 15 to recognise the growing global population of older people, and the abuse of health and human rights that many face.

Addressing elder abuse requires each one of us to be brave and honest.

Your future self, assuming you age successfully, will be the beneficiary.


Elder abuse is the perfect crime: If we don’t address it, you could be a victim too (ABC News)


Professor Ibrahim says abuse victims’ complaints often go unheard. (Supplied: Darwin Community Legal Service)