Prevalence of elder abuse using ABS data

Stream: Measuring wellbeing and data gaps
Date: Tuesday, 10 September 2019
Time: 1.35 pm – 3.15 pm


There is growing recognition around the world that abuse of elderly people is a significant social problem. Yet there is little consensus around the definitions of elder abuse and the appropriate ways of measuring the extent and dynamics of abuse. This paper will discuss some of the definitional challenges and will then report on an analysis which formed a component of a project commissioned by the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) and led by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) to examine the potential for a national study on the extent of elder abuse in Australia. The aims of this component were to:
• examine existing Australian Bureau of Statistics surveys and datasets to explore what can be known about abuse of older people
• synthesise and integrate findings from the data analysis and data scoping in this component to identify what can be known and data gaps.

The project involved scoping a range of existing national datasets and analysing those which were most relevant to explore what information about the extent and nature of elder abuse was available in the data. Findings indicate the extent of abuse of elders and compared the situation for men and women and Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. The paper will also identify the gaps in the current data and the implications for policy.


Ilan Katz (Presenter), Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney
Ilan Katz is a professor in the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW. He researches in a wide range of social policy areas focusing on vulnerable populations and human service delivery.

Trish Hill (Presenter), Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney
Trish Hill is a Senior Research Fellow at the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW. Her research encompasses feminist economic analyses in the fields of poverty and inequality, informal care across the lifecourse, social inclusion and exclusion, time-use and work-care balance.