Elder Abuse: Legislative Frameworks and Institutional Responses

Closing Date

31st March 2020*

Applicants should contact the primary supervisor, and submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) and Application as soon as possible.

*unless filled earlier

The Research Project

Elder abuse is currently a topic of considerable concern and in many ways and for many reasons difficult to investigate and tackle. A pilot project is currently being undertaken on a cross-disciplinary basis by Law, Sociology and Health Sciences to investigate existing regulatory and policy frameworks that deal with elder abuse. It is proposed to develop this work into a wide ranging analysis of key agencies' responses to elder abuse, the extent to which they have linked responses and whether and how their responses might be developed to achieve systemised integrated approaches. PhD opportunities in this area include investigations of:

  • Whether and how an integrated response across government and non-government agencies might be developed to tackle elder abuse;
  • Evaluation of models that have been developed outside Australia to tackle elder abuse and whether any of those models might be developed for the Australian environment;
  • Assessment of the current legislative and policy framework across Australia, what are their lacunae and how might they be improved from a practical and practitioner perspective;
  • Whether legislative and policy frameworks developed to tackle other forms of abuse and exploitation of vulnerable people (including family violence) might be developed or usefully extended to tackle elder abuse;
  • Whether policies developed by different agencies to tackle elder abuse are actually implemented;
  • Whether cultures within institutions tasked with caring for elderly people or with responding to elder abuse, undermine or over-ride legislation and policies relating to elder abuse.


The following eligibility criteria apply to this scholarship:

  • The scholarship is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international candidates;
  • The degree must be undertaken on a full-time basis;
  • Applicants must already have been awarded a First Class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector;
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills.

Candidates from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds are encouraged to apply.  Knowledge and skills that will be ranked highly include:

  • Legal service delivery
  • Qualitative research methods, particularly in depth interviewing

Application Process

Applicants who require more information or are interested in this specific project should first contact the listed Supervisor.

Information and guidance on the application process can be found on the Apply Now website.

Information about scholarships is available on the Scholarships webpage.

More Information

Please contact Associate Professor Terese Henning for more information.