PROTECTING OLDER PERSONS FROM LIFE- THREATENING AND FATAL ABUSE: SHOULD WESTERN AUSTRALIAN CRIMINAL LAW DO MORE?

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Abstract

The criminal law has a fundamental role in protecting bodily integrity and specifically the value of human life. This paper examines the role which the criminal law has played in addressing life-threatening and fatal abuse of older persons by others. It does so in light of the recent recommendations from the Australian Law Reform Commission and the Western Australian Parliamentary Inquiry Report on this issue. These reports acknowledge that elder abuse takes a variety of forms, but is commonly characterised by the breach of trust in an existing relationship. The paper reviews existing criminal protections in Western Australian criminal law and reflects upon several coronial inquiries. It submits that the moral distinctions characterising abuse which involve a life-threatening or fatal harm to an older person requires that the criminal law responds specifically to this abuse, and that such a response could be led by the inclusion of provisions in the Criminal Code (WA) which target those who facilitate this form of abuse of older persons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-215
Number of pages21
JournalUniversity of Western Australia Law Review
Volume45
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

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