Elderly Financial Abuse in New Zealand: Is the Law Sufficient? (2022)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Thesis DisciplinePolitical Science
Degree NameMaster of Policy and Governance
Older citizens can become victims of an alarming amount of criminal and fraudulent behaviour in New Zealand (NZ) and throughout the world. Their estates, life savings and even their welfare incomes are stolen, plundered or misappropriated. The offenders can be relatives, friends, or trusted individuals, professionals, or even corporate bodies. It involves victimisation and criminality to victims including intimidation by neglect, threats, and violence. It concomitantly intercedes in life-sustaining health, well-being, age, and disability issues. Often very well hidden, because of perceived shame for family and necessary secrecy by the very perpetrators, Elder Abuse is difficult to trace and police. Elder Abuse affects not only the victims but families and broader society. Institutional respite carers, family carers, all involved in medicine, social justice, economics, law, and policing, their stakeholder interventions can all become intertwined or interlocking. These can tend to be within the elder or disability support roles. Many people and institutions and can be quite peripheral to the actual caring or protective roles of elder people and they can often become involved.
The Dissertation submission title invites the question: - Elderly Financial Abuse in New Zealand: Is the Law Sufficient? The arguments, as given below, suggest that some robust overhaul and changes in New Zealand law and administration of EA and EFA are overdue and necessary.
Before proceeding too far into the topic, it is necessary to define what is meant by the term 'Elder Abuse.' There are many and varying versions of Elder Abuse from all over the world (Brook, 2008) pp 48. Lachs and Pillemer also noted the many variations and definitions in theories about Elder Abuse, some quite contradictory (Lachs & Pillemer, 2004) pp 492-497. Many others have attempted to more closely define the term 'Elder Abuse by dissecting the types and variations' (Moraru, 2006). For issues about EFA within New Zealand, the most credible definitions are those used by the Age Concern Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Wellington. They are the significant contributors in advocating for recognition in the problems of EFA. Age Concern are recognised as the NZ NGO advisers to government and are a ‘go to’ public resource (Age Concern New Zealand. National Advisory Group on Elder Abuse and Neglect. et al., 1995).
This paper discusses the vagaries of Elder Abuse and, more particularly, Elder Financial Abuse. To save endless or repetitive explanations herein on terminology, it is referred hereinafter to as EA or EFA. Discussed within, there are constituent elements of EA and EFA involving related and generic abuse generally. The focus herein will primarily be on Elder Financial Abuse but some added explanations regarding theories on generic abuse do provide insightful offerings.
As a basis and starting point to EA and EFA, it is initially approached within a broader and generic sub-category and framework of abuse and human rights issues. Initially, it becomes clear that EA and EFA are legitimate sub-categories of generic ranges of human abuse and human rights. The wider issues about generic abuse, included are included in the legislation for New Zealand Property Rights, (Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988) The discussion on that legislation also needs to be examined as a core part of a more holistic study for detection, forensics, policing, administration, and prevention strategies.
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