Senior Rights - Services for the elderly

The right of seniors to have their dignity and well-being protected is recognised in Australian law. It is unfortunate that in some cases, seniors are subjected to age discrimination, fraud and physical, emotional or financial abuse.

Age discrimination: workplace treatment, problems with obtaining financial and insurance services, unequal access to health care or obtaining a driver’s licence.

Fraud: taking money without supplying goods or services, supplying poor quality items or services, using pressure sales, using fake ID and increasingly, Internet scams.

Physical abuse: pain or injury caused by deliberately hitting, pushing or restraining a senior.

Emotional abuse: harassment and threats in order to make the senior feel powerless.

Financial abuse: the misuse of funds or resources of a senior person

If you or a senior you know may be having their rights violated, there are a number of avenues which can assist.

Department of Social Services

Under the “My Aged Care” program, the Australian government seeks to ensure that seniors are well cared for and given choices about the types of services they need. By selecting your own provider, you can choose a caregiver or facility that best fits your requirements and makes you feel comfortable. In most cases, this should help reduce exploitation. However, if you or someone you know is in a difficult situation, each state or territory has referral services to contact for advice.

Independent Organisations

Each state and territory also has not-for-profit community-based organisations and legal services to advocate for the rights of seniors. These services are confidential and can provide information, advice, assistance and representation. These organisations are also involved with education programs to make sure that all stakeholders including seniors, caregivers, family members and care facilities are aware of their rights and responsibilities in maintaining a safe, happy and healthy environment.

State or Territory




A.C.T. Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS)

(02) 6242 5060

New South Wales

Seniors Rights Service

1800 424 079

Northern Territory

Darwin Community Legal Service (DCLS)

1 800 812 953


Queensland Aged And Disability Advocacy


1800 818 338

South Australia

Aged Rights Advocacy Service Inc (ARAS)

1800 700 600


Advocacy Tasmania Inc. (ATI)

1800 005 131


Elder Rights Advocacy (ERA)

1800 700 600

Western Australia

Advocare Incorporated

(08) 9479 7566

Have Your Say

About 15% of the Australian population is now aged 65 or over. This means that seniors can be a powerful group when it comes to government decision-making and resolving problems which specifically face the elderly. National Seniors and COTA are two of the organisations which advocate for seniors’ rights and provide independent information on matters such as finance and work discrimination. By joining organisations such as these, you are empowered to influence the wider community and have your voice heard.

Help is at Hand

Never believe that you or someone you know has to suffer in silence. You have the right to enjoy a quality of life in your senior years. Contact the organisations discussed or ask a trusted person to help you do so, if you are concerned that your safety, health and happiness is under threat.

Image credit: "The Coopers" (cropped) by Ted Van Pelt. (Creative Commons Attribution-2.0 Generic)

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