Mothers more likely to be swindled by sons: study

Melbourne: Elderly mothers are more likely to be victims of financial cheating by their own children, especially sons, than individuals they don?t know, a new Australian study has found.

The research by Monash University here found that while sons compared to daughters are more likely to cheat their parents out of money, it is elderly mothers who fall victim to the "silent crime" more often than fathers.

The swindling involves the taking or misusing of an older person`s money, property or assets through forging signature, misusing credit cards, pension funds, transferring house titles and the persuading of an older person to change their
Will or insurance policy, found the study commissioned by Victoria`s State Trustees.

"The majority of older people coming to the attention of organisations because of financial abuse are women, and the people most likely to be perpetrating the abuse are sons," said the report.

The average age for the seniors subjected to swindling was around 80, with nearly a third older than 84, and some suffering from dementia and other illnesses, it said.

For their study, the researchers examined data from six organisations, including elder abuse help lines, police, the public advocate, State Trustees and The Department of Justice and interviewed key informants from 22 agencies and government departments.

State Trustees` Managing Director, Tony Fitzgerald, welcomed the report and said the findings would help shed light on this increasingly common crime.

"Sadly, this `silent crime` is becoming increasingly prevalent, with financial exploitation and abuse of older people by family and other trusted people emerging as a mainstream issue in Australia," Fitzgerald said.

Monash University Professor Darzins also hoped that the research would prove to be a useful contribution to raising awareness about and preventing financial elder abuse.

"We hope this research will help lay the foundations for future initiatives, including policy and legislative reform, and improvement to services," Prof Darzins said.



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