Elder Abuse


Call 0800 32 668 65 (0800 EA NOT OK).

What is Elder Abuse?

Elder Abuse occurs when a person aged 65 or more experiences harmful physical, psychological / emotional,  sexual, material / financial or social effects caused by the behaviour of another person with whom they have a relationship implying trust.

The older person and the abuser are people who know each other well. Statistics from services in New Zealand show that the majority of abuser are members of the kaumatua / older person's family / whanau (partners, sons, daughters, in-laws, siblings, grandchildren). Other abusers include people employed in positions of trust - residential facility staff or paid carers.

Elder Abuse Can Mean

PHYSICAL - Infliction of physical pain, injury or force - eg: being hit, slapped, tied to a chair, withholding food, taking away food before finished.

PSYCHOLOGICAL / EMOTIONAL - Behaviour including verbal abuse which causes mental anguish, stress and fear - e.g. called names, blackmailed, 'mind games'.

IGNORING - Not giving care and attention, not caring for health conditions, leaving the person alone for long periods, not responding to a bell in a timely way.

ISOLATING - Physical confinement, restricting normal contact with others, limiting freedom within a persons own environment.

SEXUAL - Sexually abusive and exploitative behaviours involving threats, force of ability to give consent.

MATERIAL / FINANCIAL - Ilegal or improper exploitation and / or use of funds or other resources - e.g. having money or possessions taken off of you.

How Can We Prevent Elder Abuse?

Respect the Persons Dignity and Individuality By:

  • Helping people to make their own decisions - give a sense of control.
  • Helping the person to express their individuality.
  • Helping the person to speak for themselves or have a designated person.
  • Letting the person do the things they can for themselves - avoid causing dependence.
  • Helping the person to feel useful and that they contribute.

You Have a Right to Feel Safe

It is common to have mixed feelings about speaking up. Particularly when your abuser is someone you know and trust - a family member, friend or neighbour. Abusers are often someone that you depend on for support, or for care.

You have the right to feel safe. The Elder Abuse helpline will help you work through these issues and put you in touch with support services near where you live. This service is free, and completely confidential.

It is a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL HELPLINE available ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. Call 0800 32 668 65 (0800 EA NOT OK).