Last updated 14 March 2022

Unfortunately, many older men and women experience domestic and family violence (DFV) from their spouses, partners, family or their caregivers. Older people find it difficult to leave an abusive relationship or even identify that they are being abused, as it could have been occurring for many years and they view it as a normal element of the relationship. Older people also struggle to access information and services due to a lack of knowledge, limited access to the internet, social isolation and physical incapacity. Indicators that an older person is experiencing DFV include:

  • the sudden execution of a new will or enduring power of attorney in favour of an unusual person
  • transfer of full or part ownership in the family home to a spouse or family member
  • significant and unexplained withdrawals of money from bank accounts
  • dismissal of injuries or anxiety by a spouse or carer as age or dementia related
  • sudden change of medical practitioner
  • demonstrated anxiety around particular family members or carers
  • social isolation and/or withdrawal from participation in normal activities.

Legal advice, referral and social work support is available for older members of the community from organisations such as the Elder Abuse Prevention Unit or the Seniors Legal and Support Service run by Caxton Legal Centre Inc.