Elder abuse and financial exploitation
The Seniors Legal and Support Service (SLASS) provides free legal and social work support for older persons experiencing elder abuse, mistreatment, neglect or financial exploitation.
Elder abuse and financial exploitation usually occur within the family, but older persons may also experience abuse from carers, neighbours, friends or services.
Common situations where elder abuse occurs include:
- a family member (usually son, daughter or grandchild) living in the home and being verbally abusive, not contributing financially, not agreeing to move out when requested
- a break down in family agreements to loan money, build a granny flat, provide money/assets in exchange for care
- long-term abuse or violence from a partner
- denial of opportunity to spend time with grandchildren
- misuse of a power of attorney or denial of an older person’s right to make their own decisions and control their finances
- receipt of a carer’s pension without providing the care
- older people being forced to sign legal documents.
Clients should be over the age of 60, or 50 in the case of Indigenous clients.
Older persons experiencing abuse may contact the service directly. Family members and service providers may contact us to refer an older person for whom they hold concerns and SLASS will then contact the older person directly.
Contacting the service
Contact the service on (07) 3214 6333. All contact with the Seniors Legal and Support Service is confidential.
One of our social workers will follow up with a telephone call and, if we can assist, will arrange a home visit or meeting at another place as required. A lawyer will be available to provide advice and ongoing assistance.
We respect an older person’s right to choose whether or not SLASS will become involved in a particular situation, and whether or not to follow through with any of the options discussed with the social worker or lawyer.
Our lawyer and social worker will discuss directly with the older person what steps can be taken to address the abuse including:
- discussing safety planning
- providing short-term counselling
- connecting with services that address family relationship breakdowns, housing needs, home assist, aged care, capacity assessment, respite, centrelink issues, ongoing counselling
- providing information about steps to take to avoid financial exploitation
- advising about legal rights and options
- creating a case plan for ongoing assistance to address identified needs
- assisting with negotiations to recover money/assets
- providing referrals to other legal, consumer and support services
- in certain circumstances, representing a client in court or before a tribunal.
SLASS and Caxton Legal Centre cannot provide assistance with estate planning or conveyancing.
Legal information at your fingertips
SLASS publishes valuable factsheets to provide easy access to information on common legal matters for seniors. The factsheets also include references to useful resources and a list of service providers if further assistance is required.
- Sharing a Home with Friends or Family
- Financial Gifts and Loans
- Decision Making and Power of Attorney
- Raising Money from the Family Home
- Talking about Financial Matters
- Residential Aged Care and Community Care Arrangements
- Consumer Contracts—Dodgy Deals
- Preventing Violence
- 10 Tips to Protect Yourself from Elder Abuse
SLASS is available to provide free community education about elder abuse and related topics.