27 September 2023

New laws to attack elder abuse

Start the conversation

New laws giving the Public Trustee and Guardian (PTG) and Public Advocate stronger powers to request records and assist in preventing elder abuse have been introduced into the Legislative Assembly.

Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said the Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 made permanent some of the temporary amendments passed during the COVID-19 public health emergency and provided further protections against elder abuse.

“This recognises the vulnerability of people who are dependent on others to assist them with financial transactions through a power of attorney, and the challenges they face in enforcing their rights where these powers are abused,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Records of transactions can be requested from an attorney even where the person has capacity to make their own decisions,” he said.

“This change recognises that a person may still be vulnerable even if they have capacity but are dependent on an attorney to assist with their affairs.”

Mr Rattenbury said the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal would also be able to make directions to revoke or suspend an enduring power of attorney where the person still had capacity.

Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services, Emma Davidson said the amendments would reduce the risk of elder abuse.

“Senior Canberrans who are reliant on others to carry out important transactions on their behalf will be able to request records from their attorney, and these records can also be required to be produced for the Public Trustee and Guardian or Public Advocate,” Ms Davidson said.

“An attorney will be required to keep proper records and to keep their property separate from the individual’s property, which will help to provide accountability about transactions they undertake,” she said.

Ms Davidson said the changes improved the ability of senior Canberrans to enforce their rights and reduced the risk of elder abuse.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.