Useful Information » Older People » Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse

Elder abuse and neglect is a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, that causes harm or distress to an older person.

Abuse of any sort is unacceptable and it can leave a person feeling powerless and alone. If you feel that you have been subjected to abuse or you know of someone who is being abused, help is available.

Contact Age Concern Hawke's Bay 

Elder Abuse Response Team

06 870 9060

What does it look like?

Psychological Abuse

Behavior causing mental anguish, stress or fear. For example:

  • Ridicule or threats
  • Harassment or humiliation
  • Preventing choice or decision-making
  • Withholding affection

Financial Abuse

Illegal or improper use of money, property or other assets. For example:

  • Unauthorised taking of money or possessions
  • Misuse of power of attorney
  • Failure to repay loans
  • Use of home and/or utilities without contributing to costs
  • Scams that rely on establishing a relationship with the older person with the intention of exploiting their savings and/or assets, e.g. romance scams.

Physical Abuse

Infliction of pain, injury or use of force. For example:

  • Hitting, pushing, rough handling
  • Over-medication
  • Inappropriate use of restraints or confinement


Not providing for physical, emotional or social needs. For example:

  • Inadequate food, clothing, shelter
  • Lack of social contact, support
  • Health needs not attended to

Sexual Abuse

Non-consensual sexual acts or exploitive behaviors. For example:

  • Inappropriate touching
  • Sexual acts with someone unable to give consent

Institutional Abuse

A policy or accepted practice within an organisation that disregards a person’s rights or causes harm. For example:

  • Lack of respect for a person’s culture or customs
  • Inappropriate rationing of continence products
  • Inflexible routines e.g. breakfast at 8 am in the dining room