Supplementary Order Paper No 320

Explanatory note

This Supplementary Order Paper amends the End of Life Choice Bill to establish a register for cases of assisted dying or requested assisted dying, where coercion or elder abuse has been found to be a factor.

This register would ensure the Ministry of Justice has current and comprehensive data regarding cases of elder abuse, specifically with regard to the age, sex, and ethnicity of the individual, as well as geographic location of both the location of request and, if it occurred, the death by assisted suicide as prescribed by this Bill. The New Zealand Longitudinal Study of Ageing found that elder abuse was prevalent for at least 1 in 10 participants aged 65 years and over, and concluded that “Elder abuse is pervasive in New Zealand”.1 Without proper protections, there will be cases of elder abuse to those covered by this Bill, and they will potentially be coerced into a decision regarding requesting assisted suicide, or otherwise seek assisted suicide as a result of abuse they have suffered.

This registry ensures that information is available on these cases, and can outline trends in the data that can highlight areas of concern for the Minister.

1 Measuring Elder Abuse in New Zealand: Findings from the New Zealand Longitudinal Study of Ageing (NZLSA). “The study demonstrated that elder abuse, as measured by VASS, was prevalent for at least 1 in 10 participants aged 65 years and over on each of the four sub-scales. Items concerning psychological abuse were more frequent than those associated with coercion and physical abuse.”