Older people

Elder abuse and the law

The abuse, neglect and exploitation of older Queenslanders is a significant and growing concern. Older people with impaired decision-making ability are particularly vulnerable to elder abuse.

The Public Advocate collaborated with the elder law section of the Queensland Law Society to explore the legal framework around elder abuse in Queensland.

Published on 1 June 2010, the aim of the final report, Elder Abuse: How well does the law in Queensland cope? was to raise awareness of the legal issues associated with elder abuse.

The report covered a range of issues relating to:

  • civil and criminal law
  • guardianship
  • reporting requirements
  • older persons as victims of crime
  • law enforcement
  • domestic violence protection orders
  • aged care complaints mechanisms
  • access to the aged care complaints system
  • access to legal assistance

The report is currently being updated to reflect changes that have occurred over the past decade. The update is also being undertaken as a joint project between the Public Advocate and the Queensland Law Society. It is expected that the new report will be released before the end of 2021.

Enduring Powers of Attorney reform

National reform is currently underway concerning:

  • the possible harmonisation of financial enduring powers of attorney legislation (every state and territory currently has its own legislation on this topic); and
  • the development of a national register of financial enduring powers of attorney.

The Public Advocate has released the attached one-page 'Towards harmonisation' document in order to encourage movement towards harmonisation of Australia's various financial enduring powers of attorney laws.

Restrictive practices in aged care

Reform paper

In 2021 the Public Advocate released a restrictive practices reform options paper recommending the adoption of a senior practitioner model to authorise and regulate the use of restrictive practices in Queensland. The paper is available here.

Discussion paper

In 2017, the Public Advocate published a paper - Legal frameworks for the use of restrictive practices in aged care: An analysis of Australian and international jurisdictions . This paper examines existing laws, policies and practices in Australia and in international jurisdictions  that make up the regulatory frameworks governing the use of restrictive practices.


To read the Public Advocate’s submissions concerning older people with impaired decision-making ability click here .