FSC welcomes elder abuse inquiry

25 February 2016

The Financial Services Council (FSC) has welcomed the Federal Government's announcement to conduct an inquiry into the abuse of older Australians, particularly as they are most vulnerable to financial abuse by family members.

Attorney General, George Brandis, announced yesterday that the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) will conduct an inquiry into the abuse of older Australians.

The announcement came as the Australian Institute of Family Studies reported that up to 10 per cent of the older population was subject to abuse, often financial.

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The FSC chief executive, Sally Loane, said that as most Australians born today will live well into their nineties, it also meant they were more likely to suffer cognitive decline, which made them more vulnerable to abuse.

She also said the onus was on the wealth management industry to understand how to identify and address the issue of financial abuse of older Australians.

"It is a prime opportunity to raise awareness of the abuse of older Australians — particularly financial abuse — and to carefully consider the legal safeguards necessary to protect our older generation and to build a better understanding of the complexities of the issues which are often hidden from our society," Loane said.

The FSC hosted the Elder Financial Abuse Symposium last year, which highlighted that elderly abuse would increasingly become a policy challenge as the ageing population grew.

"We are developing training for our members so their staff can identify red flags and devise strategies to safeguard the rights of their older clients," Loane said.

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