There are a number of definitions of what constitutes financial abuse of older people.
The World Health Organisation defines financial abuse of an older person as, "The illegal or improper exploitation or use of funds or other resources of the older person". The definition includes acts with adverse outcomes committed not only by people known to and trusted by the victim, but also acts perpetrated by strangers and by institutions.
Abuse may be intentional or unintentional. Intentional financial abuse is defined in Monash University's Protecting Elders’ Assets Study (PDF), as “the separation of a person from the benefit of their assets for the benefit of another, involving deliberate intention”. Unintended abuse is “the inadvertent or uninformed financial mismanagement or neglect of financial assets which causes the deprivation of benefits to be derived from those assets”.
The following are given in the study as common examples of financial abuse:
The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services expands upon this, pointing out that financial abuse is often combined with other forms of abuse and neglect.
This initiative is the work of the Victorian Third Age Network. Thank you to all the members involved in the task group, with very special thanks to Jenny Blakey, Seniors Rights Victoria, and Sue Marshall.
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