Research Resources

New Research

The EAPU Helpline: results of an investigation of five years of call data

This report by Ceallaigh Spike, UnitingCare Community EAPU Project Officer (Research & Systems) investigates five years' worth of Helpline data in search of patterns.  The report does find consistencies over time for age and gender although it suggests that elder abuse in older age groups may not be as gendered as spousal abuse.  Drilling down into abuse types and relationships indicates that elder abuse is a different construct to spousal abuse.  A change in the patterns of two abuse types over time reveals that sons and daughters are becoming more alike in their patterns of abuse.  Read/download the full report here.


A "Wishlist" for a Prevalence Study

The EAPU Reference Group Research Subgroup final report on a proposal for a Queensland prevalence study. 
Click here for the full report


UnitingCare Community submission to the Domestic and Family Violence Taskforce on elder Abuse

The UnitingCare Community's Elder Abuse Prevention Unit prepared a submission for the Domestic and Family Violence Taskforce chaired up by, former Governor General, Dame Quentin Bryce.  The submission raised issues including the cost of elder abuse and the need for a targeted and coordinated approach to prevention, the need for existing legislation to be reviewed and strengthened and a prevalence study to identify a baseline for service delivery and impact of services on the elder abuse.  Click here to read the full submission.

The Policies and Practices of Financial Institutions Around Substitute Decision-Making

A new study headed by, Adjunct Fellow in Elder Law, Sue Field from the University of Western Sydney "investiaged and assessed the effectiveness of enduring powers of attorneys as tools for providing appropriate substitute decision-making tools for managing assets and financial matters."  The most significant recommendation made by the study and supported by the research partners and participants is the need for a national register for enduring powers of attorneys as a safeguard.
Click here for the full report

Report on Sexual abuse and older women

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La Trobe researchers have published a ground breaking study on sexual assault against older women.

The three year study is the first and most comprehensive of its kind.

Researchers spoke to family members, aged care service providers, police and sexual assault agencies.

The report found:

  • That sexual assault can occur in a range of environments; home, health and aged care settings
  • There is no one type of perpetrator – family, workers, visitors to aged care settings can all commit this crime
  • Women who have been sexually assaulted are silenced by shame, fear and a general lack of awareness and responsiveness from all quarters.
  • There is a need for education, public policy and other reforms to prevent sexual assaults

Chief Investigator Dr Catherine Barrett from the University's Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society says it's an invisible crime that needs much greater public awareness and policy prevention.         

'Many people think older women just aren't going to be targets of any kind of sexual assault. This is wrong. This report clearly shows older women are sexually assaulted and that the silence surrounding this crime makes older women vulnerable. We want this research to be used to create prevention strategies and accountability measures to prevent sexual assault,' Dr Barrett said.     

The study is called Norma's Project. Norma was 84 years old when she was sexually assaulted by a worker in an aged care facility.      

The report findings and recommendations will be presented to government and the sector for direct action.   


Queensland Reports

Queensland Law Society - Joint issues paper: Elder Abuse (2011)
The Queensland Law Society has released a follow-up report to the 2010 'Elder Abuse: How well does the law in Queensland cope?' review. This latest report has come from the consultations undertaken during, and interest in, the original review.

Elder Abuse:  How well does the law in Queensland cope? (2010)
The Queensland Law Society - Elder Law section has reviewed the laws in Queensland and compared them with both national laws and international laws to examine how well older are Queenslanders covered by the legal justice system. It is very comprehensive and provides excellent insight into the laws that effect older people in Queensland.

Law Reform Needed to Combat Elder Abuse in Queensland (2010)
Daniel Hann reviewed the position paper by the Queensland Law Society and Public Advocate and provides some insightful recommendations for improving legal options for older people in Queensland.

Elder Abuse:  Effectiveness and Outcomes of an Awareness Campaign (2011)
Elder Abuse research is gathering momentum as a social justice issue. The new generation of older people have established new norms and expectations.  Modern medicine has provided the means for people to live longer independently. This paper sought to investigate the most efficient methods for raising awareness and empowering family and friends of abused older people to seek help.

Preliminary Report for LCCQ's World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Elder Abuse Awareness Campaign (2010)
The EAPU conducted an exploratory study to identify which awareness raising methods were the most effective for targeting Family and Friends of the older person.  The preliminary results are outlined in this report.

The Cost of Elder Abuse in Queensland:  Who pays and How much? (2009)
The Cost of Elder Abuse in Queensland:  Key Points (2009)
This report outlines the cost to the community of elder abuse.  It looks at the cost of services both government and non-government, ranging from health, legal, counselling, court services and the list continues.

Mandatory Reporting of Elder Abuse Position Paper (2006)
An analysis of mandatory reporting and recommendations of the EAPU.

Elder Abuse in the West Moreton District (2004)This report documents a University of Queensland research project undertaken to explore the issue of elder abuse in the West Moreton district of South East Queensland.

West Moreton Elder Abuse Prevention Service Directory and Referral Pathway (2004)
Developed by the West Moreton Taskforce for the Prevention of Elder abuse.

Financial Abuse of Older People (2005)
Prepared for the EAPU by Leonie Sanders BPsych (Hons), dip. Mgmt, to provide an analysis of this issue from a Queensland perspective. Recommendations include establishing a specialist senior's legal service, multidisciplinary teams, case work and others.

Getting to Know You (2000)
A project of cross cultural awareness and elder abuse prevention strategies for working with the Chinese community in Brisbane.


Interstate Reports

Preventing Financial Abuse of Older People with Dementia

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The financial abuse of people with dementia is a concern to Alzheimer's Australia NSW with staff hearing about numerous cases. This research was conducted to examine how the abuse occurs and what can be done to prevent or reduce the incidence of it. The Paper includes examples of financial abuse of people with dementia which highlight the ways in which it is perpetrated and the devastating effects it has for victims and their loved ones.

A number of possible strategies to reduce the incidence of financial abuse of people with dementia and to resolve cases satisfactorily emerged from the research. These include reporting of the abuse, and registration and monitoring of people appointed as an attorney under an Enduring Power of Attorney.

Preventing financial abuse of people with dementia (PDF 1MB) 


Financial Assests Research by Commissioned by Victorian State Trustee

For love or money:  Intergenerational management of older Victorians' assets
C. King, J. Wainer, G. Lowndes, P. Darzins & K. Owada - May 2011
This research paper was conducted by Monash University and commissioned by the Victorian State Trustees.

Diversity and financial elder abuse in Victoria
J.  Wainer, K Owada, G. Lowndes & P Darzins - February 2011
This research paper was conducted by Monash University and commissioned by the Victorian State Trustees.This research paper followed three cultural groups in Melbourne, Victoria and analysed their approaches to planning for thier old age and strategies the family uses to ensure the financial safety of the older person. 

Staying safe with money - The Experience of older English Speaking Victorians
J. Wainer, K. Owada, G. Lowndes, P. Darzins - November 2010
This research paper was conducted by Monash University and commissioned by the Victorian State Trustees.

Prevalence of Financial Elder Abuse in Victoria
J.  Wainer, P.  Darzins & K.  Owada - May 2010
This research paper was conducted by Monash University and commissioned by the Victorian State Trustees.

Financial Abuse of Elders - A Review of the Evidence
G. Lowndes, J.  Wainer, K.  Owada & T.  Mihajcic - June 2009
This research paper was conducted by Monash University and commissioned by the Victorian State Trustees.