Allegations of abuse by relatives increases in NSW

06 June 2023

New data released today from the NSW Ageing and Disability Commission (ADC) shows a 40% increase in statutory reports made about allegations of abuse, mainly by an adult child or parent of an older person or adult with disability, over the past three years.

Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald said there were also more than 38,000 calls made to the Ageing and Disability Abuse Helpline and that most of the reports related to allegations of psychological and financial abuse, and neglect. 

 "We know there has been significant life pressures over the past few years that has increased the risk factors for abuse, including within families. Unfortunately, in the reports we've seen, relatives have taken advantage of an otherwise trusted relationship for personal gain or control," Mr Fitzgerald said.

"Those who called us to make a report about an older person were other adult children in the family, while it was mainly paid workers reporting concerns of an adult with disability. 

"We've also had reports come through from a broader range of people, including paid workers, community members and neighbours. This shows you that the community is aware of us and proves that we have become a vital safeguarding agency for adults at risk of abuse in their family, home and community."

Signs of abuse and neglect can include the older person or adult with disability are no longer receiving the services they need to live, they are being prevented from speaking to or seeing family and friends, or they cannot spend or access their own money.

Anyone can call the NSW Ageing and Disability Abuse Helpline on 1800 628 221 (Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm) for information, support or to make a report. You can also be anonymous. In an emergency call 000. 

For more data visit the dashboard data page.

Last updated:

08 Jun 2023

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We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future. 

Informed by lessons of the past, the Ageing and Disability Commission is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.

You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.

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