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Local concern about financial abuse of elderly Territorians

27 Feb 2018

It was interesting watching the four big banks (NAB, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ and Westpac) on the news recently. They expressed their concern regarding the financial abuse of older Australians. According to a 2016 Australian Institute of Family Studies research report, it is likely that between 2% and 10% of older Australians experience elder abuse in any given year, and that financial abuse appears to be the most common form of abuse experienced by elderly people.

COTA NT has also received calls from local banks expressing their concern about elderly clients who it appears are being coerced into giving their banking details to family members and friends, who then take advantage of them. This is an extremely difficult situation when perpetrators are family members and an elderly person may rather put up with the abuse than lose contact with the family or family member. One suggestion that the four big banks made was that Power of Attorney information should be made available to them, so that they can check that the family member has the right to act on behalf of their elderly relative. This deserves further consideration.

If you are concerned about financial abuse, contact the Elder Abuse Information Line on 1800 037 072 for assistance. It operates between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday and is free to call from landlines and public phones. The service will call you back if you are using a mobile.

Other issues coming to light this week was the way in which some users of motorised scooters are driving. COTA NT have recommended to a Senate Enquiry that a speed of 10kmph be the normal maximum on open pathways, but just 5kmph in pedestrian areas. In shopping centres, motorised scooter users have been known to presume a right of way and not take care around pedestrians.

Sue Shearer, CEO COTA NT

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