Skip to content

Preventing Elder Abuse Tasmania

Preventing Elder Abuse Tasmania (PEAT) is a multidisciplinary, research and advisory team based at the University of Tasmania.


Our work is:

  • Tasmanian focussed within the National context
  • Independent - hence able to independently advise and inform policy
  • Academically rigorous and ethically approved
  • Informed by our community network
  • Supported by access to considerable expertise and stakeholders in health, health-services, law, sociology and policy research locally and nationally
  • Can evaluate the quality and efficacy of service programs
  • Focussed on a systems approach to addressing elder abuse

The PEAT team:

To contact PEAT, you can email any of the individual team members, or use our shared email PEAT@utas.edu.au

Dr Suanne Lawrence
RN, BSc (Hons), MPH, MHA, PhD
Older person health services

Dr Susan Banks
Sociology

Associate Professor Terese Henning
Tasmanian Law Reform Institute (TLRI)

Associate Professor Christine Stirling
Nursing and gerontology

Key drivers for our work:

Initial research by PEAT found that the Tasmanian legislative and policy framework dealing with elder abuse (EA) had many gaps which has directed our focus to the institutional drivers of responses to EA, how it is understood and communicated. Key to individual and institutional responses to EA is the culture of the relationship between workers and the organisation they work for. Examples of how our research has policy influence are:

  • In 2016, PEAT convened a Symposium on Elder Abuse in Tasmania, supported by State and Federal parliamentarians, and reported to Government.
  • In 2017, PEAT was asked to provide expert evidence to the coronial inquiry into the death of Mrs Macozdi (in 2014). This report informed the coroner’s findings and is now referred to by State Government in current policy discussions.
  • Communication and collaboration nationally and locally with presentations to national conferences, responding to current national inquiries, publication, and training sessions for the Australian Nurses and Midwives Association and COTA Tasmania.

The opinion of Tasmanians

In November 2017, PEAT arranged a Tasmanian Symposium on elder abuse that brought together over 60 representatives from the aged care sector, the legal profession, police, unions, clinicians, policy makers and academic researchers to examine the social, legal, and clinical dimensions of elder abuse and neglect in Tasmania. Based on the input of Symposium attendees in the theme discussions, the PEAT researchers, TLRI, EOT and COTA are calling on the Tasmanian Government and relevant agencies to:

  1. Improve knowledge of elder abuse through research to improve understanding of the incidence, vulnerability factors and enabling culture.
  2. Enhance strategies to address ageism including the development and use of guidelines promoting positive ageing language and images consistent with commitment under the Strong Liveable Communities Tasmanian Active Ageing Plan 2017-2022 to address ageism and combat age-related stereotypes.
  3. Promote community understanding and shared responsibility for addressing elder abuse and neglect through awareness raising campaigns.
  4. Embed a human rights culture within the Tasmanian community through the adoption of a Tasmanian Charter of Human Rights, containing a duty incumbent on all persons and public authorities to act consistently with human rights. The Charter must also contain mechanisms to allow individuals to seek remedy where protected human rights are violated.
  5. Endorse and adopt the recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission’s report into Elder Abuse – A National Legal Response including the adoption of state and territory adult safeguarding laws to give adult safeguarding agencies the role of safeguarding and supporting at risk adults.
  6. Establish a transparent, independent and quick State-based complaints mechanism for taking, investigating and addressing elder abuse and neglect, including broad provisions for 3rd parties to make complaints.
  7. Ensure that appropriate independent legal support, including access to mediation and family conferencing, is available to all adults including prior to signing residential aged care and related contracts.
Full Report | Symposium on Elder Abuse and Neglect, Report and Recommendations (15 November 2017)