Around one-third of assaults against people aged over 65 were committed by their families, with their own children accounting for more than 60 per cent of those cases, analysis of Victorian crime figures shows.
During the decade to the end of last year, there were 209 cases of homicide of Victorians aged 65 and over and 84 abductions, according to Crime Statistics Agency.
“Almost half (47.7 per cent) of sexual offences were committed by an ‘other’ known person, with further examination revealing 29.5 per cent of these cases were committed by a co-resident,” said study author Samantha Walker.
Older men (56.1 per cent) were more likely to be victims of crime than older women (42.5 per cent).
While the total number of offences against Victoria’s elderly Australians has grown in the past decade, barring a spike in 2016, the rate per 100,000 has remained relatively steady.
The same cannot be said of nationwide figures which show that in 2015-6, 4 per cent of assault victims were aged more than 55, compared with 3 per cent in 2011-12.
Alarmingly, across Australia the percentage of men older than 55 years reporting sexual assaults has doubled to 5.9 per cent of the population in the four years to 2016.
Women over 55 were involved in 3.1 per cent of all reported sexual assaults in 2016.
That year, the rate of crime against Victorian seniors was 1983 per 100,000 people, falling to around 1660 per 100,000 last year, or 16,438 reported incidents.
During the 10 years, 65.5 per cent of kidnappings among Victorian elderly were from the victim’s home. In that time, two seniors were abducted from a nursing home and 27 from community settings, car parks, farmland and gaming venues.
Current partners were involved in 9.5 per cent of abductions, other family members in 28.6 per cent of cases, 17.9 per cent of cases involved another known person and 29.8 per cent of abductions were committed by strangers.
Theft accounted for almost half, or 64,795, of all crimes against the older age group. There were 34,991 burglaries, 25,224 incidents of property damage and 1323 acts of arson during the decade.
Sexual offences, in which a third of the victims were older than 85, accounted for 696 cases.
“Almost three in five sexual offences took place at a nursing home or healthcare facility, while across all offence types, around three in five took place at a private residential location,” Ms Walker said.
Are you surprised at the level of crime against older Australians? Given that most such crimes take place in a person’s home, would you feel safer in an aged care facility? Would you report your child if they abused you?