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What is abuse and neglect?

The following provides a list of behaviours, examples and case studies to help identify abuse and neglect.

Financial abuse


  • Threatening, coercing re: assets or wills;
  • Taking control of the person’s finances against their wishes and denying access to their own money;
  • Abusing Powers of Attorney;
  • Stealing goods, e.g. jewellery, credit cards, cash, food, and other possessions;
  • Unauthorised use of banking and financial documents;
  • The recent addition of a signature on a bank account.

Warning signs to observe

  • Unexplained disappearance of belongings
  • Unexplained inability to pay bills;
  • Significant bank withdrawals and/or changes to wills
  • Inability of the person to access bank accounts or statements
  • Stockpiling of unpaid bills or an empty fridge
  • Disparity between living conditions and money
  • No money to pay for essentials for the home including food, clothing, and utilities

Financial abuse case study

Anna is an 82 year old woman who has a chronic illness and cannot get around easily. Her son, Tom, moved in to be Anna’s carer as his marriage broke down.

Tom does the shopping using Anna’s ATM card and never shows her the receipts when she asks.

There are unpaid bills piled on the table and Anna tells you that she cannot afford community services anymore.


  • Tom never shows Anna the ATM receipts.


  • Unpaid bills on the table and Anna wants to cancel community services.
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Last updated: 24 Sep 2019