Building on other work

2.42       This Inquiry provides the opportunity to build on the work of others. As the Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine observed, ‘[w]hilst more research is required, it is equally important to fully utilise the data that is currently collected’.[55]The AIFS report provides a thorough and up-to-date analysis of the existing evidence about elder abuse in Australia.[56] The National Plan will provide a framework to bring all this work together and to prioritise a number of the excellent recommendations included in them.

New South Wales Legislative Council Report 2016

2.43       In June 2016 the report, Elder Abuse in New South Wales, was concluded by the New South Wales Legislative Council, General Purpose Standing Committee No 2.[57] The first recommendation was for a ‘comprehensive, coordinated and ambitious approach to elder abuse’. The elements identified are examples of strategies and outcomes that could be incorporated into a National Plan:

  • a rights based framework that empowers older people and upholds their autonomy, dignity and right to self-determination

  • a major focus on prevention and community engagement

  • legislative reform to better safeguard enduring powers of attorney and to establish a Public Advocate with powers of investigation

  • an ambitious training plan to enable service providers to identify and respond appropriately to abuse

  • an active commitment to building the evidence base for policy

  • an enhanced role for the NSW Elder Abuse Helpline and Resource Unit.[58]

2.44       In addition, the Committee recommended that there be a ‘significant new investment of resources in the prevention of elder abuse, including the development and funding of ‘a new prevention framework’ that provides for ‘substantially enhanced primary prevention, community education, awareness and engagement, carer support and life planning initiatives’ and ‘specific resources for strategies targeting culturally and linguistically diverse and Indigenous communities’.[59]

Senate Community Affairs References Committee Report 2015

2.45       In November 2015, the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs published its report on violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in institutional and residential settings. A number of recommendations in this report express themes that could be reflected in the proposed National Plan, including, for example, recommendations concerning:

  • a national system for reporting and investigating;[60]

  • national consistency in disability worker training;[61]

  • a disability worker registration scheme;[62]

  • a national approach to service deliver7 accreditation programs;[63] and

  • national consistency in the administration of guardianship laws.[64]

House of Representatives Report 2007

2.46       In September 2007 the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs published the report, Older People and the Law. Its 48 recommendations provide similar and further matters that could inform the development of a National Plan, including matters such as:

  • the development of a national awareness campaign dealing with financial abuse of older Australians;[65]

  • national initiatives to promote financial literacy particularly among older people;[66]

  • uniform legislation on powers of attorney across states and territories;[67]

  • a nationally consistent approach to the assessment of capacity;[68]

  • a national register of enduring powers of attorney;[69]

  • national awareness campaigns on powers of attorney;[70]

  • advance health care planning;[71]

  • national consistency and coverage of legislation governing advance health care planning;[72]

  • nationally consistent legislation on guardianship and administration;[73]

  • investigation of legislation regulating family agreements;[74] and

  • a resource service and media education campaign for older people.[75]

Reports on specific areas

2.47       In addition to the parliamentary reports identified above, there have been state reports focused on particular areas of concern relevant to potential areas of abuse of older persons. These include:

  • the April 2016 report of the Office of the Public Advocate (Qld), Decision-making Support and Queensland’s Guardianship System—A Systemic Advocacy Report;[76]

  • the October 2011 report by the Office of the Public Advocate (SA) and the University of South Australia, Closing the Gaps: Enhancing South Australia’s Response to the Abuse of Vulnerable Older People;[77]

  • the 2011 report on Guardianship by the Victorian Law Reform Commission;[78] and

  • the current work of the New South Wales Law Reform Commission on the Guardianship Act 1987 (NSW).[79]