Estimating the extent of elder abuse using existing national surveys

Elder abuse
Wednesday 25 July, 1210 – 1230


Ilan Katz
Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW

Elder abuse is complex to define, and it is therefore difficult to measure the extent of abuse in Australia. As yet, there is no national prevalence study of elder abuse in Australia. One potential approach would be to use data from existing surveys to estimate the prevalence and dynamics of elder abuse. There are a number of national surveys which ask questions that potentially provide insights into the extent of some elements of elder abuse and some of the demographic and personal factors associated with such abuse. In this component of the project we analysed existing national ABS surveys to assess existing evidence about the prevalence and nature of elder abuse. None of the surveys was designed to measure the extent of elder abuse, however, and the analysis relied on questions which were mainly meant for other purposes. The ABS data sources analysed were; the Personal Safety Survey; National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey (NATSISS) and the Crime Victimisation Survey and the Recorded Crime – Victims data.
The presentation will discuss the advantages and challenges of using existing surveys to estimate the prevalence of elder abuse, including definition, sampling and question design. Preliminary findings of the extent of different components of elder abuse will be presented, and the implications for policy and further research will be discussed.