Help tackle elder financial abuse

Did you know that National Seniors is part of a concerted campaign to help stop elder financial abuse?

The campaign includes the Australian Banking Association, Council on the Ageing, the Older Persons Action Network and the Financial Services Union.

People are being urged to write to their state and territory Attorney-Generals to introduce three key changes to help better recognise, report and stamp out elder financial abuse.

The changes are:

• Standardised power of attorney orders around Australia

• Establish an online register of powers of attorney

• Establish a hotline for people and bank staff to report suspected elder financial abuse.

The Australian Banking Association’s Anna Bligh said this was a chance for all Australians to show their support and call on lawmakers to make the changes needed without further delay.

“While elder abuse can take many forms, elder financial abuse is one of the most common forms and one that local bank branch staff witness regularly,” Ms Bligh said.

“The Australian public can now take part in our campaign by logging onto our website and writing directly to their state or territory or federal attorneys-general calling on them to take urgent action.

“Bank staff unfortunately all too often see people who are their customers being pressured to give access to their accounts and the accounts being drained by family member or by friends they trust and care about.

“This is a really difficult, complex problem, but there are things that can be done about it.

“We need a standardised power of attorney order, with an online register and a designated safe place to report suspected abuse to help address this growing problem in our community. 

“Australian banks, along with seniors’ groups and the Financial Services Union, are calling on the federal government and the states and territories to take these actions to empower local branch staff to detect and report suspected elder financial abuse.

“The last meeting of Attorneys-General was an important step in taking action, however, every day we delay the problem continues and grows in our community,” she said.

To join the campaign, visit the website and show your support.