Bauer Media partners with Australian Banking Association to combat elder financial abuse

Bauer Media has thrown its support behind the Australian Banking Association’s (ABA) fight against elder financial abuse with a new campaign revealing that almost six in ten Australians are worried that someone they know will be the victim of abuse.

The campaign is calling on governments across the country to take a stand and provide support for those in need.

ABA CEO Anna Bligh and Bauer Media financial ambassador Effie Zahos

Specifically, the campaign is calling for the establishment of Power of Attorney laws which are the same across the country, a national Power of Attorney (POA) register to check POA documents and confirm they are legitimate and current and a body in each state where abuse can be reported and acted upon.

According to new research from YouGov released by the ABA, 57% of Australians are worried about their loved one experiencing financial abuse, with 87% of Australians wanting the government to do more.

The research estimates that one in ten older Australians experiences elder abuse per year.

The campaign forms part of Bauer’s Financially Fit Females initiative, which aims to improve the financial literacy of Australian women.

“The growing problem of elder financial abuse in our community is an uncomfortable truth that every Australian should be aware of,” said CEO of the ABA Anna Bligh.

“Bank staff have told me stories of attempting to intervene in situations where they see money drained out of the accounts of pensioners, often for items they are not using such as holidays or expensive jewellery, but the victim is unwilling or unable to report what is really happening.

“As a result of hearing these stories, in February 2018, the Australian Banking Association kicked off a campaign, in conjunction with the Council of the Ageing, National Seniors Australia, the Older Persons Advocacy Network and the Finance Sector Union calling on all governments to tackle the issue of elder financial abuse.

“Governments need to establish a national online register of Power of Attorney Orders, standardise laws and legislate a designated safe place to report elder financial abuse,” she said.

Bauer Media finance ambassador Effie Zahos said a power of attorney is a ‘critical tool’ in the battle against financial security for elders.

“Any potential for misuse of Power of Attorney Orders can be minimised through a national online register, as currently there is no way of checking the validity of the Power of Attorney document,” said Zahos.

“We feel extremely passionate about this cause which disproportionately affects women. We need to make important changes to empower people, such as local bank branch staff, to detect and report abuse.”

The campaign will be supported by Bauer’s brands, including The Australian Women’s Weekly, Woman’s Day, Harper’s BAZAAR, Australian House and Garden, Take 5, TV WEEK, and ELLE. The publisher is encouraging people to share their stories, which will be treated with the strictest confidence, and sign the ABA petition.

CEO of Seniors Rights Service Russell Westacott said overwhelming majority of cases the organisation saw was of people experiencing elder financial abuse.

“Every year we see 650 presentations of people experiencing elder abuse, which means every day our doors are open we see at least two or three people,” Westacott said.

“Of these, most people report financial abuse and they carry the shame that it has been perpetrated, most often, by a son, daughter or grandchild.

“This abuse is unacceptable; we need to stop it.”


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.