A lack of awareness, resources, training and reluctance of victims to speak out are major obstacles for those tasked with investigating financial abuse, according to a report.
The report is the fifth in a partnership between Commonwealth Bank and University of NSW's Gendered Violence Research Network (GVRN).
GVRN co-convenor Jan Breckenridge said researchers found the term elder abuse could "obscure" cases where financial abuse had occurred, creating "barriers" for victims seeking help.
"Financial institutions have a key role to play in identifying and responding to economic and financial abuse of older people perpetrated in the context of Domestic Family Violence (DFV)," Professor Breckenridge said.
The report also found evidence gender biased ideals of financial management may enable financial and economic abuse.
Family mediation, better training for health and legal professionals and formal regulations for transactions within families were found to be effective means of preventing financial abuse. But the report also found service providers tasked with dealing with the problem faced a range of barriers, including the reluctance of victims to disclose instances of abuse, and a lack of training and resources.
The report concluded more research needed to be done to create greater understanding of the role financial and economic abuse played in the wider context of DFV.
Clearer definitions, more data and improving understanding of how gender roles and cultural and linguistic diversity influenced abuse were identified as key focus areas.
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