It’s truly unfortunate to hear reports about elders being abused by their own carers and even family members!
We’re not only talking about physical abuse or mental abuse, but also about deceiving them of their assets and pensions. In fact, this is one of the most common cases that Investigators Australia deals with, which is truly upsetting.
To fully understand what elder abuse is, we’re going to share some of the most shocking facts we’ve discovered after many years of handling these cases.
- It’s very common
Society dictates that we should care for the elderly and treat them with the utmost respect. But you might be surprised to know that elder abuse is pretty common.
Even though there’s not yet an established measurement on how prevalent elder abuse cases are in Australia, International figures say that about 2% to 15.7% of the elderly are victims of abuse.
The real figure may actually exceed these estimates since there are plenty of elder abuse cases that have not been reported. And in countries like Australia where there is a rapid increase in the ageing population, there may be several of these cases.
- It comes in many forms
There are many forms of elder abuse cases. Since this crime has a broad category, the abuse can come in many forms. Furthermore, the implications of each of these cases would vary wildly.
Although mismanaging finances is the most common, elder abuse can also come in the form of physical, social, psychological, and even sexual abuse, done by the carers themselves.
Different forms of elder abuse cases can also co-occur. For instance, financial and physical abuses are inflicted together.
- The victim’s child often carries out the abuse
One of the most common elder abuse cases that we’ve handled has something to do with financial matters. And surprisingly, this is usually carried out by the victim’s own child!
The reason behind this is that it is usually the family members that have easy access to the victim’s financial resources.
According to the data gathered by Victoria’s National Ageing Research Institute of Seniors Rights, the perpetrators behind the 92.3% of elder abuse cases are the victim’s family members. Meanwhile, 66.8% of these are done by the victim’s own child!
- The victim and the perpetrator sometimes are not aware of the abuse
As mentioned, people who are close to the victim or a family member are often the perpetrators. Because of this, the victim may not consider the act as something abusive. There are also cases where the victim would refuse to accept the fact that someone they trust or love is already abusing them.
Meanwhile, the perpetrator of the act will sometimes fail to acknowledge that they are already being abusive to the elderly person. There are also instances where they will neglect their needs. Carers are often the ones who are more prone to abusing the elderly due to stress and frustration that comes with caring for the elderly.
Short temper and emotional disconnectedness are some of the most common reasons behind elder abuse among caregivers and carers.
- An investigator can assist with elder abuse cases in many ways
If you suspect a person is abusing your parent or an elderly person that you love, you can consult with Investigators Australia for assistance on this case. As private investigators, we will closely monitor the person whom you are suspecting of committing elder abuse.
We are able to perform many things when handling elder abuse cases. First, we will do a background check of the suspect. This will reveal if they have a history of similar cases or has been accused or convicted of criminal acts in the past.
When it comes to financial matters, our forensic experts will conduct an analysis of signatures and handwriting. This is the best way to determine if there has been any forgery committed.
Our investigators can also prove claims of any allegations made regarding a dispute over the estate and provision claims of the elderly family member. Furthermore, if an elderly relative has gone missing, our private investigator will be able to conduct an investigation to locate the person.
If you suspect that a carer is abusing an elderly relative, we will immediately conduct close monitoring in order to gather evidence of the wrongdoing which can be used as court evidence to implicate the suspect.
Common Risk Factors
Below are some of the factors that could increase the likelihood of elder abuse.
In most cases, those who are accused of abusing an elderly are suffering from poor psychological problems. Others have poor mental health and are suffering from substance or alcohol abuse.
Other individual factors that could increase the likelihood of abuse is the gender of both the abuser and the victim, especially if they are in a shared living condition. Although elderly men have the same risk as elderly women, elderly women are usually more prone to abuse.
They are also at risk of financial abuse and neglect, where their assets and properties are seized without their knowledge. Women have a higher risk of physical and sexual abuse.
The consequent lack of social support and isolation of older persons in society are also risk factors for elder abuse.
A lot of elderly people are usually isolated either because they are suffering from mental or physical illnesses, or mainly because most of their family and friends have already passed away.
One of the most common risk factors for elder abuse is a shared living condition. It’s not yet known if the adult kids or spouses of the victims are the most common perpetrators.
However, the dependency of the victim to the abuser is another factor that increases the likelihood of abuse.
In some instances, a long history of conflicting relationships with the victim could make the situation worse. Also, as more women are choosing to work and have less time to spare, caring for elder relatives has become an even bigger burden and this could increase the possibility of abuse.