Elder Abuse in Australian Aged Care Facilities

Royal Commission Chair, the Honourable Tony Pagone QC, and of Commissioner Lynelle Briggs AO.

Around 39.2 per cent of people living in Australian aged care facilities experience elder abuse in the form of neglect, emotional abuse or physical abuse according to experimental estimates by the Office of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

Of these three types of elder abuse, the most prevalent was estimated to be neglect (experienced by 30.8 per cent of people), followed by emotional abuse (22.6 per cent) and physical abuse (5 per cent).

Elder abuse can also take the form of financial, social and sexual abuse. These forms were not able to be estimated using the data available.


The experimental estimates were calculated using data from the Royal Commission’s residential aged care survey previously conducted by the National Ageing Research Institute. The methods and survey data are explained in Research Paper 17 – Experimental Estimates of the Prevalence of Elder Abuse in Australian Aged Care Facilities, available on the Royal Commission’s website.

Estimates of elder abuse in similar international studies vary considerably with ranges from 0.4 to 81.8 per cent for neglect, 6.3 to 78.9 per cent for psychological abuse, 1.9 to 58.3 per cent for physical abuse, 0.7 to 78.3 per cent for financial abuse, and 0.03 to 59.2 per cent for sexual abuse.

The research paper provides a platform to further the research into elder abuse prevalence and prevention in Australian aged care facilities.

The research paper was prepared for the information of the Royal Commissioners and the public. Any views expressed in the paper are not necessarily the views of the Commissioners.

Download the research paper here

Source: press release

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