Elder abuse: Public needed to help drive bank changes
TO ACHIEVE change, the voice of the public needs to be heard by the state and territory Attorneys General if bank staff are to have the right authority to detect and safely report elder financial abuse.
The Australian Banking Association (ABA), National Seniors, the Council on the Ageing, the Older Persons Action Network and the Finance Sector Union launched today a campaign encouraging all Australians to write to their state or territory Attorneys General demanding -
- Standardised Power of Attorney orders across state and territories.
- An online register of Power of Attorney Orders.
- A designated safe place for local bank staff and members of the public to report suspected abuse.
To get on board with the campaign, go to www.ausbanking.org.au/elderabuse.
ABA chief executive officer Anna Bligh said this was a chance for all Australians to show their support and call on lawmakers to make the changes needed without further delay.
"While elder abuse can take many forms, elder financial abuse is one of the most common forms and one that local bank branch staff witness regularly," Ms Bligh said.
"The Australian public can now take part in our campaign by logging onto our website and writing directly to their state or territory or Federal Attorneys General calling on them to take urgent action.
"Bank staff unfortunately all too often see people who are their customers being pressured to give access to their accounts, all too often see their accounts being drained by family members, by friends that they trust and care about.
"This is a really difficult, complex problem, but there are things that can be done about it.
"We need a standardised power of attorney order, with an online register and a designated safe place to report suspected abuse to help address this growing problem in our community.
"Australian banks, along with seniors' groups and the Financial Services Union, are calling on the Federal Government and the states and territories to take these actions to empower local branch staff to detect and report suspected Elder Financial Abuse.
"The last meeting of Attorneys General was an important step in taking action, however every day we delay the problem continues and grows in our community," she said.