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Elder abuse: The hidden crime

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Why does elder abuse happen?

Elder abuse happens because the abuser has power and control over the older person. Abuse may also be linked to the abuser having:

  • a drug or alcohol problem
  • a history of anti-social behaviour
  • financial or mental health problems

Abuse is more likely to happen when the family is going through a period of high stress, including the stress of looking after the older person.

The abuser may not allow people to visit or talk to the older person. The older person may be isolated from the community, social services, and even from other family members.

Sometimes elder abuse is part of a cycle of violence in the family.

But there is no excuse for abusing someone. The personal problems of a caregiver are not an excuse for abusing an older person. These problems may be factors in the abuse, but they do not justify it.