If you are concerned that you or someone you know is being treated in a way that causes harm, information and help are available. Several organisations have highly trained staff who can talk with you and answer your questions. The services are free and confidential.
Please do consider ringing the Tasmanian Elder Abuse Helpline or another of the services below. You are not alone, and you have the right to feel safe.
Elder abuse may involve physical or sexual abuse, taking an older person’s money or possessions, neglecting them, making threats or stopping their social contacts. It can happen at the hands of an adult child or other family member, and it often occurs in the home.
Tasmanian Elder Abuse Helpline – 1800 441 169
The Tasmanian Elder Abuse Helpline is staffed from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday by sensitive and knowledgeable people who can give you information and direct you to appropriate services. It is operated by Advocacy Tasmania on behalf of the Tasmanian Government. If you believe you or anyone you know may be experiencing elder abuse, you can call the Tasmanian Elder Abuse Helpline on 1800 441 169. The national ELDERhelp number (1800 353 374) will also take you to the Tasmanian Elder Abuse Helpline if you are ringing from within Tasmania.
Advocacy Tasmania- 1800 005 131
As well as operating the Elder Abuse Helpline, Advocacy Tasmania aims to protect the rights of older people receiving aged care services in residential aged care facilities or in their own home by helping them be heard and understood.
Senior Assist – 1300 366 611
The Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania operates Senior Assist, which offers free and confidential assistance to people across the State who are over the age of 65 (or over the age of 50 if Indigenous) and worried about, or experiencing, elder abuse. This is an integrated legal and support service, with case workers working alongside legal staff. To book, ring 1300 366 611 and ask for Senior Assist.
Legal Aid also partners with COTA Tasmania to provide a free legal clinic for older people with concerns about any other legal matter. The Hobart clinics operate between 10am and 12 noon on the first Wednesday of the month, while the Launceston clinics are on the third Thursday of every month, again from 10am to 12 noon. To book a face-to-face or telephone appointment for a general legal matter, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 03 6231 3265.
Elder Relationship Service – 1300 364 277
The Elder Relationship Service, offered by Relationships Australia Tasmania, includes both mediation and counselling services to support older people and their families who need help negotiating complex issues related to the older person or caring for an older person.
Elder Relationship Services can assist older people and their families to:
- prevent or resolve family conflict
- have difficult conversations
- plan for the future (including medical, health, financial or living arrangements)
- resolve differences in ways that improve their relationships and
- make decisions that protect the interests, rights and safety of families.
People can attend on their own, with their partner, or with a support person.
The Elder Relationship Service is voluntary and confidential within the limits of the law. Everyone has an opportunity to express their view with the support of an independent qualified practitioner. The Elder Relationship Service is staffed by trained mediators and counsellors and with specific skills in delivering services to people experiencing conflict about ageing-related issues.
The decisions made at elder mediation are not legally binding. However, the practitioner can assist to document any agreements made in writing. For more information about the service, download the information sheet or visit the website.
The Public Trustee – 1800 068 784
The Public Trustee is a Government business enterprise that provides a range of estate planning, estate and trustee services. It can draw up wills, enduring powers of attorney and enduring guardianship documents for a fee. If you nominate the Public Trustee as your administrator and/or the executor of your will, you will pay a reduced fee for the preparation of the documents. If you have a seniors card, the preparation is free. However, it’s important to be aware that even if the Public Trustee prepares your documents for free, it will start to charge fees once it begins to act as your administrator or executor.
Office of the Public Guardian – 1300 653 187
The Office of the Public Guardian has been given special powers under the Public Guardian Act 2014 to protect adults with impaired decision-making capacity and investigate claims of abuse, neglect or exploitation.
Tasmania Police – 000
Sometimes a situation is so serious that one of the above elder abuse services is not the best option. If someone’s life is in danger, please go straight to Tasmania Police’s emergency service by ringing 000.
Other Important Services
The Migrant Resource Centre (03 6221 0999), Aboriginal corporations such as Karadi (03 6272 3511), and the organisation Working It Out can provide information about services for CALD, Indigenous and LGBTIQ+ communities respectively.
In some cases elder abuse may arise from or be associated with age discrimination. Age discrimination is unlawful. If it occurs, you may be able to take action by making a formal complaint or anonymously informing:
If you need help in the home or are thinking about moving into residential aged care, the Aged Care System Navigator service operated in Tasmania by COTA may be able to help you. Just ring us on 03 6231 3265.
If you are concerned about the treatment of someone in receipt of an Australian Government aged care service you can contact the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
Elder Abuse Resources
Listen to Our Podcast
You can help prevent elder abuse by speaking out when you notice ageism, and by making sure you understand legal and other documents before you sign them. This podcast, recorded for Clarence City Council’s “Live Well. Live Long.” program and broadcast on community radio, introduces four of these documents: wills, enduring power of attorney, enduring guardianship and advance care directives. You can download the podcast here. Many thanks to Clarence City Council for including this topic, Jim Parish for recording and Hobart FM for broadcasting. (Please note that the podcast will take a few seconds to download before it starts to play.)
Elder Abuse Helpline Resources
Community awareness of elder abuse is vital. The microsite www.elderabusetasmania.com.au contains a video about elder abuse and information about the Tasmanian Elder Abuse Helpline.
You can also share the resources below produced by the Australian Human Rights Commission with anyone you are concerned about and others who may be in contact with older people.
The bookmark can be shared or printed out and given to older people themselves.
The poster can be shared or printed out and displayed.
We particularly ask that people consider the statements on these resources. If you or someone you know answers “no” to any of them, you or they may wish to ring the Helpline.
Note: This bookmark and poster promote the National Elder Abuse Helpline number. Please be assured that if you ring the national number from Tasmania you will be taken directly to the Tasmanian Elder Abuse Helpline. If you know someone interstate who needs information about elder abuse, you can give them the national number and it will take them directly to the elder abuse helpline in the state they are ringing from.
Other Elder Abuse Prevention and Information Resources
COTA Tasmania offers members of the public free peer education about financial elder abuse. It also offers free elder abuse information sessions for staff and volunteers who work with older people. You can find out more about these sessions here.
Information about Tasmania’s elder abuse prevention strategy and the national plan to prevent elder abuse is available here.
You Decide Who Decides, produced by the Australian Guardianship and Administration Council, is a national guide to making an enduring power for financial decisions.