Balancing autonomy and protection in adult safeguarding – the case of elder abuse
1University of South Australia, Justice and Society, Law Building, Adelaide, Australia
Elder abuse can take many forms (physical, sexual, financial, etc). Prevalence studies point to the incidence of elder abuse as a significant concern, but its full extent is difficult to uncover. Such studies suggest that the most frequent form is financial abuse, and that it is most frequently perpetrated against close family members.
An effective response to elder abuse is necessarily multi-layered and – in the Australian context – must draw on competencies and disciplinary expertise from a range of organisations. Specialist safeguarding agencies and mechanisms can comprise an important part of this response, and the measures implemented must balance the need for intervention with a respect for the autonomy of the individual. This paper investigates the means by which this balance is struck.
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