Research project: Redressing neglect and abuse of people with dementia in residential aged care

It is pleasing to announce here, albeit belatedly, the successful application for a research project which I’m extremely happy to be involved in with Linda Steele.

Thanks to the Dementia Australia Research Foundation, who made this grant possible.

2020 Dementia Grants Program – Project Grant Recipients Announced

March 4, 2021: The Dementia Australia Research Foundation is pleased to announce the Project Grant recipients from the 2020 Dementia Grants Program. Twelve of Australia’s best and brightest early- and mid-career researchers will share in almost $1 million to undertake vital research into reducing dementia risk, improving diagnostic tools and establishing treatment and care options for people who live with dementia.

The Dementia Australia Research Foundation acknowledges the generosity of donors and partners who contribute each and every year to support dementia research.

CI: Dr Linda Steele, University of Technology Sydney; AI: Kate Swaffer, University of Wollongong

Neglect and abuse of people living with dementia is a systemic problem in residential aged care. It inflicts significant harm on victims/survivors, care partners/families/friends and the broader dementia community. Those affected have been unable to access justice, or healing and closure through the courts. While stopping future neglect and abuse requires reform of legal, regulatory, and funding frameworks, these reforms do not ‘redress’ in the sense of setting right or fixing the wrongs of past neglect and abuse. Redress practices beyond individual court action (e.g. compensation and psychosocial support, memorials, national apologies, community education) create individual and community benefit by delivering financial, legal and community recognition of experiences through appropriate exposure and analysis of past wrongdoing. It is vital redress is considered by the Disability Royal Commission moving forward. This action research project will explore the need for redress through interviews and focus groups with people living with dementia, care partners/families/close friends and lawyers/advocates. Recommendations will be shared with the Disability Royal Commission, dementia community, government, aged care sector, advocacy organisations and professional associations. Anticipated benefits include a redress framework that can facilitate justice, healing and enhanced wellbeing for victim/survivors and the dementia community, and education and advancement of protections within future aged care and legal systems.

The full list of successful applicants are available here.

The Dementia Australia Research Foundation is the research arm of Dementia Australia, which provides funding to support new and emerging dementia researchers. In 2020, $1.7 million in funding was allocated to support Post-doctoral Fellowships (outcomes previously announced here) and Project Grants. Details of funding opportunities are available at

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