3.1        The ALRC recommends that a national plan be developed to combat elder abuse. It builds upon significant Australian Government commitment to protecting the rights of older Australians.[1] It is a capstone recommendation of this Report and provides the basis for a longer-term approach to the protection of older people from abuse. The Plan will provide the opportunity for future planning and policy development in an integrated way. Much work already undertaken and in train, both at the Commonwealth level and in states and territories, together with recommendations in this Report, may be seen to constitute strategies in implementation of a national commitment to combat elder abuse.

3.2        This Report focuses on strategies for legal change and development that are important in protecting the rights of older Australians. However, the insights gathered through consultations and submissions demonstrate that a wider range of actions is also critical to addressing elder abuse. A national planning process offers the opportunity to develop strategies to combat elder abuse that complement, support and extend beyond legal reforms, such as: national awareness and community education campaigns; training for people working with older people; elder abuse helplines; and future research agendas.

3.3        Elder abuse involves complex social problems and needs to be addressed at an intergovernmental and community level over the long term. This chapter suggests a conceptual template for a National Plan and provides a wide range of examples from stakeholders, drawn from over 400 submissions—sharing ideas, illustrations, suggestions and urgings.

3.4        The recommendations in this Report should also form part of the National Plan described in this chapter, substantially addressing many of the legal questions in relation to elder abuse.