Elder Abuse

What is Elder Abuse?

Elder Abuse is a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occuring in any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.

Adopted from the WHO Toronto Declaration on the Global Prevention of Elder Abuse, 2002.

This definition includes situations of neglect by a person who could reasonably be expected to meet the needs of the older person, but it does not include self-neglect.

The six commonly identified categories of elder abuse are: psychological, financial, physical, institutional, neglect, or sexual. In Nelson Tasman we see around 100 people each year dealing with abuse. The majority of these cases are financial and of that, approximately three-quarters are by family members.

Age Concern Nelson Tasman's EAR service provides information, support, advocacy and advice to older people and their families/whanau to prevent elder abuse and neglect, and also coordinate intervention services when abuse or neglect is identified. We work very closely and collaboratively with many support agencies across the region including police, social workers, home-based support services, lawyers and government agencies.

What if you suspect elder abuse?
Tell someone - we advocate speaking out if you think someone is being abused or you're worried about them. If the abuse occurs in your workplace, report it immediately to your supervisor. You may be uncomfortable reporting the abuse, especially if the abuser is someone you know; but the safety and wellbeing of the older person is the most important consideration.

If the abuse is occuring in the community, contact your nearest Age Concern office. In Nelson Tasman you can contact us on 03 544 7624, or email this address.

Age Concern National Adviser on Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Services, Louise Collins, talks about psychological abuse:


Bronwyn Groot, Security & Fraud Co-ordinator at BNZ talks about scams that target older New Zealanders:


Read a special report on elder abuse in Nelson Tasman published in the Nelson Mail in 2014.