Australian-first elder abuse laws have passed the ACT's Legislative Assembly, after receiving tri-partisan support.
Under the new laws, both institutions and individuals who abuse or neglect vulnerable people in their care, will be committing an offence.
In addition, people in a position of authority at an institution who know a vulnerable person in their care is at risk, but fail to protect them, will be committing an offence.
The new laws will apply to all adults who have a disability, or people aged 60 or older who have a vulnerability in addition to their age.
"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," Attorney General Gordon Ramsay said.
"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."
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. They will come into effect in April 2021.
The ACT Law Society has previously condemned the government for introducing "defective" legislation, accusing it of chasing a headline.
President Chris Donohue said the government ignored advice against creating specific elder law offences.
"The government's proposals are a poorly thought out response to what is a complex problem. The Bill will create an effectively arbitrary offence provision that duplicates offences already applying in the ACT," he said.