Seniors and Elder Abuse
The WA Police Force is committed to ensuring seniors, their families and carers are able to fully access departmental services and facilities. This includes consulting seniors, their families and carers organisations, and where required, to ensure that barriers to access are addressed appropriately.
We aim to:
- Be responsive and adaptable in addressing the barriers experienced by seniors due to various disabilities, including physical, sensory, cognitive and psychiatric disabilities
- Be responsive to addressing the barriers experienced by the families and carers of seniors
- Ensure that all policies and practices governing departmental facilities and services are consistent with the WA Police Force policy on access and inclusion
- Although not formally recognised under the Criminal Investigation Act 2006, the WA Police Force understand that hate based crime against seniors may significantly impact upon the victim, the victims family or social network as well as the community as a whole
Older people are entitled to:
- Live safely in their own homes without fear of abuse, violence or exploitation
- Make their own decisions on matters affecting their lives
- Comprehensive, accurate and accessible information and advice about their rights and options, to enable them to make informed decisions
- Be provided with assistance which is culturally and linguistically appropriate
- Autonomy and dignity
See the Safety Advice for Seniors booklet for help with:
- Home security
- Safer shopping
- Using public transport
- Using your telephone
The WA Police Force meet on a regular basis with key community groups and venues that provide services to seniors. These groups are a part of the Alliance for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. The Alliance was established in 2005 to promote a whole-of-government policy framework that values and supports the rights of older people. APEA: WA is high-level policy group which meets bi-monthly.
The purpose of the meetings is to increase engagement between police and these groups as well as inform and advise one another on issues related to policing and justice which can then be shared with the community.
These meetings include:
- Department for Communities
- Department of Aboriginal Affairs
- Department of Health
- Disability Services Commission
- Legal Aid Western Australia
- Public Advocate
- Public Trustee
- Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA)
- Western Australia Police
What is elder abuse?
Any act occurring within a relationship where there is an implication of trust (family and friends), which results in harm to an older person. There are also ways other than violence that older people feel abused.
Types of abuse:
Fear of Reporting Crime
The WA Police Force acknowledge that there are issues that may prevent seniors engaging with police. These include:
- Fear of alternative to family care
- Fear of not being believed
- Fear of retribution
- Sense of shame
- Lack of confidence in the justice system
This has resulted in significant reluctance by people with disability to report crimes perpetrated against them.
If you are a victim of abuse and do not wish to speak directly to police, you can call Advocare for assistance.
WA Elder Abuse Helpline - 1300 724 679
Advocare provides information and can support you with any conversations to be had or actions to be taken, and can refer you to free legal services and supports.
Its services are free and confidential and generally, the older person or their representative can remain anonymous. However, where staff believe there is a real or perceived threat to the individual or wider community, information may be disclosed in the interests of safety.
In many situations, a crime has been committed against senior members of the community who are unable to escape, report or even acknowledge their mistreatment. Often the perpetrator is a family member.
Even though you may be reluctant, it will help your overall confidence and wellbeing if you tell someone and ask for help.
If you are a family member and think an elder member is or has been abused, do seek assistance.
Within the Community Engagement Division, the Aboriginal and Community Diversity Unit has a number of roles that contribute to the corporate knowledge base on police and community diversity issues, by providing representation on across-Government committees and focuses on legislative and policy obligations. This enables the WA Police to support community engagement activities in order to improve service delivery to meet the increasing demands of our diverse community.
WA Police Force Headquarters
2 Adelaide Terrace, Perth 6004
Email Substantive Equality