This paper examines the issue of elder abuse from a Canadian and Australian perspective. A research project was undertaken in Canada and Australia to identify registered nurses' knowledge about the types of abuse, skill at recognition and comfort counselling and intervening in cases of elder abuse. Although a phenomenon that has probably been in existence for many years, it is only during the last decade that elder abuse has come into prominence as an important aspect of family violence. A recent Canadian report records that elder abuse today is at the same level of publicity as wife abuse 10 years ago (Canadian Nurses Association, 1993). It is estimated that as many as 4% of the elderly population in each country are exposed to elder abuse (Podneiks and Pillemer, 1990, National Survey on Abuse of the Elderly in Canada. Ryerson Polytechnic Inst., Toronto; Kurrle et al., 1992, Modern Med. Austral., September, pp. 58-71). This takes the form of physical, emotional as well as financial abuse. Each country has an increasingly ageing population. By the year 2000 the percentage of the population over the age of 65 is predicted to be 13.6% in Canada and 11.7% in Australia (Gnaedinger, 1989, National Forum on Family Violence; Rowland, 1991, Ageing in Australia, Longman Cheshire, Melbourne). Nurses in both community practice and health care facilities have a responsibility to this elderly population to identify those being abused and those at greatest risk. This study questioned a small sample of registered nurses in both countries to identify whether nurses were adequately prepared to identify, intervene and manage patients in an abusive situation. Results show that nurses in both countries were not knowledgeable about the types of abuse, or comfortable and skilled when dealing with the types of elder abuse.