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Seniors Rights Victoria registered a 39 per cent increase in helpline calls in the first quarter of 2023 (Bigstock)

Advocates are concerned increasing cost-of-living pressures could be contributing to a spike in elder abuse in Victoria. Source: ABC News.

Seniors Rights Victoria’s helpline registered a 39 per cent increase in calls in the first quarter of this year, the majority of which related to elder abuse. 

A total of 1371 calls were taken during the first quarter of 2023 — and SRV chief executive Chris Potaris said the spike had tangible impacts.

“This increased demand means that callers are currently waiting four to five weeks for an appointment with one of our casework teams,” Mr Potaris said. 

According to the latest figures, about one-in-six Australians aged 65 and older have experienced some form of elder abuse. 

Elder abuse is defined as any act, or failure to act, which causes harm or distress to an older person in a relationship of trust.

Mr Potaris said the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, were the likely drivers of the increase in calls for help. 

“Because of either — or both — some older people moved into the homes of their children to be taken care of, and instead found what remaining money they had was taken from them,” he said.

“Or they were simply shut away and forced to live, eat, and sleep in one room.

“Conversely, adult children may have been forced to move back in with their parents as they can’t afford ongoing rental increases.

“This change of circumstances may have brought a sense of unrealistic, financial entitlement to the child.”


Calls to Elder Abuse helpline increase by 40 per cent amid cost-of-living crisis (By Daniel Miles, ABC News)