Laws passed to protect the most vulnerable members of ACT

Australian Capital Territory Attorney-General and Minister for Seniors Gordon Ramsay said the new laws were an Australian first making Canberra a more age-friendly and inclusive city.

 

“Under the new laws, both institutions and individuals who abuse or neglect vulnerable people in their care, will be committing an offence,” Minister Ramsay said.

 

“In addition, those in a position of authority at an institution who become aware a vulnerable person in their care is at serious risk, must take steps to protect the person from that risk. Failure to do so will be an offence.

 

“Research tells us that older people and people with disability experience abuse at higher rates than adults without these vulnerabilities, and that this abuse is most likely to be perpetrated by someone they know.

 

“This is not acceptable. Vulnerable Canberrans have the right to live safe lives, free from neglect, abuse, violence and exploitation.

 

“These changes will complement existing measures that are in place to protect vulnerable people in the ACT.”

 

A vulnerable person has been defined as an adult who has either a disability, or someone 60 or older who has a vulnerability in addition to their age. This may include illness, disability or social isolation.

 

A person responsible for care includes people who provide care: voluntarily; on a paid basis; or while performing a role within an institution.

 

The laws also introduce a new sentencing consideration for the Court to take into account when the victim of an offence is a vulnerable person.

 

The new laws will come into effect in April 2021.

 

21 August 2020.