Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty, through the courts.

April 6, 2012

Elder Abuse and Crime (STH. AUSTRALIA)

This section comprises some general considerations, followed by some specific information about relevant criminal offences. Note that the information contained here is not intended to be definitive, nor is it intended to substitute for obtaining specific advice for a particular situation.
General considerations about elder abuse and crimes
Some situations of elder abuse may well have a criminal element to them. Crimes take two broad forms:- offences against the person, and offences against property.
If you think that an older person in the facility has been subject to a crime, the best course of action you can take is to get some advice. Go and report your concerns to your supervisor who can check Compulsory Reporting requirements or the resources section for details of where free legal advice or Police are available in your state/territory.
With Compulsory Reporting and service providers responsibilities, section 63-1AA of the aged Care Act (1997) states; “if the approved provider receives an allegation of, or starts to suspect on reasonable grounds; a reportable assault, the approved provider is responsible for reporting the allegation or suspicion as soon as reasonably practicable, and in any case within 24 hours to:” the Police and the Department of Health and Ageing Complaints Investigation Scheme (CIS)
For other alleged abuse issues (financial, psychological, social and or neglect)  before you take any action in a situation where you believe a crime has been committed, ensure that you have considered the following points:
•    Check with the older person about their own wishes about the crime.
•    Remember that the only circumstances where action can be taken without the consent of the older person is where they are unable to make decisions on their own behalf i.e. they do not have capacity. Go to the freedom of choice, confidentiality and role of protective services section for more information about these issues.
•    Ensure that you have consulted with your supervisor, before you take any action in responding to a crime.
Offences against the person
There are a number of elements of physical abuse, sexual abuseand psychological abuse that could be criminal.
The most common form of offence against the person is assault. Assault is committed if there is ever any intentional, unwanted physical contact or battery, or threat of this. Battery is the actual application of unlawful force. (1)
It is important to note that assault on a person involves more than hitting. It can involve:-
•    any medical procedure without the older person's permission
•     placing the older person in reasonable fear of harm
With sexual abuse this can involve:-
•    unlawful sexual contact
•    unwarranted, intrusive and or painful procedures in caring for a persons genital areas
Note that the perception of reasonable force or painful procedures is the older person's.
There are a number of ways that assault can be prevented. It is vitally important that you get advice about the options before proceeding. Options include:-
•    Taking out violence apprehension orders or restraining orders
•    Compulsory Reporting the matter to the police and Department via the Complaints Investigation Scheme for investigation or a report with no investigation
•    The supervisor taking steps to stop or  monitor visits to the older person from the alleged abuser (if it is a family member)
•    The older person can take civil action against situations of assault


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Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty.

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