Queensland Law Society

2019 Call to Parties Statement

11. Implement a national plan to combat elder abuse

The incidence of elder abuse and its direct impacts upon a growing cohort of the community requires urgent attention. The prevalence of elder abuse is increasingly recognised as occurring in the community and in various institutional settings such as hospitals, retirement villages and aged care facilities, and will be partially considered by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

Queensland Law Society calls for a commitment to:

  1. urgently implement key recommendations set out in the report by the Australian Law Reform Commission: ‘Elder Abuse – A National Legal Response (ALRC Report 131)’ including the National Plan to Combat Elder Abuse. This must be guided by timely stakeholder consultation,  with a whole of government strategy focussing on prevention, education and awareness raising, collaborative frameworks, and financial elder abuse responses and redress
  2. develop national capacity assessment guidelines resulting from a multi-disciplinary approach combining input from legal practitioners, consumers, medical and health professionals, drawing upon the model utilised in the USA and developed by the American Bar Association and the American Psychological Association’s ‘Assessment of Capacity in Older Persons’
  3. commit to working with the states and territories to develop consistent laws which contribute to the prevention  of elder abuse, including relating to enduring powers of attorney, and to incorporating the Commonwealth Supported Decision-Making framework into state and territory legislation to integrate, where appropriate, with existing substitute-decision making regimes
  4. recognise and act on the extensive evidence and research which indicate the need to take immediate action with respect to the abuses, harm and neglect occurring in residential aged care facilities, including the proper regulation, mandatory reporting and adequate training for staff, with a view to minimising and substantially reducing  the use of restrictive practices in this sector, including provision of increased funding to established groups and regulatory authorities such as the Australian Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission at the Federal level, and the Office of the Public Guardian across each state and territory
  5. increase funding to community legal centres delivering services to people suffering elder abuse across varied areas, particularly regional, rural and remote.

 

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