Aging population means more elders robbed by family

THE Law Reform Commission will investigate financial abuse of Australia's elderly, in the wake of a Senate inquiry into the problem.

Attorney-General George Brandis has ordered the LRC to report back in May 2017 following a Senate inquiry's finding last year that possibly thousands of older Australians are being stripped of their finances by relatives.

Senator Brandis's decision coincided with yesterday's release of an Australian Institute of Family Studies' report that estimated up to 10% of the older population was experiencing some type of abuse, often financial.

That report shows the problem is expected to grow with the nation's aging population, especially with an increase in elderly widows at higher risk of such abuse.

Senator Brandis initiated the ALRC inquiry, but did not go as far as the Senate inquiry's recommendation last year for a royal commission.

Queensland Aged and Disability Advocacy chief Geoff Rowe said at the time that financial abuse often occurred within families and was in particular perpetrated by those entrusted with an older person's power of attorney or power to be their guardian.

The commission will examine the extent of the issue with a view to creating a "best practice legal framework" to protect the rights of elderly Australians.


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