If you've got a smart phone you have all you need to take part in SRV's new video project.
Following on from the video series we produced in early 2021, about planning ahead, SRV are now launching a new video project that will reflect the times we live in. The new videos will focus on how we can support those close to us, if we find we need to make decisions on their behalf. The legal elements of these videos are linked to the Guardianship and Administration Act and will highlight how to be a supportive decision maker.
As we face continued lockdowns and social restrictions many of us are missing our loved ones more than ever. So we've decided to create this series of videos acknowledging these times. This means we are inviting video submissions from people throughout Victoria.
SRV wants to create videos that depict people of all ages, from diverse backgrounds, talking about what’s important to them and their loved ones. The videos will be edited together to share the rich and diverse stories of people in Victoria and then go on to explain the considerations and legalities of supported decision making.
If you'd like to participate: Please record yourself talking to camera. You can record yourself for a few seconds, for example talking about one thing that you are missing, or that is important to you or you can record yourself talking for a few minutes on a range of things.
Topics to talk about:
Remember, this can be fun/ funny, so please enjoy yourself.
If you have any questions or need any support recording your video please contact email@example.com
Download this media release as a PDF
Seniors Rights Victoria (SRV) and the John Pierce Centre (JPC) have created valuable new resources designed to educate and support older Deaf Victorians dealing with issues of elder abuse.
Work between SRV and JPC identified information gaps that existed within the Deaf community, and focused on the creation of much-needed materials to cater to those needs. New pamphlets in English and elder abuse prevention videos in Auslan will assist those within the Deaf community better understand their right to live a life free from abuse, what elder abuse is, and how to seek support.
The Auslan clips are the key resource as part of the project, and will reflect the information in the pamphlets – themselves titled “What happens when family or friends hurt you?” and “What happens when you cannot make choices in your life?”. The videos will be uploaded to the JPC website and used on social media to spread the word in the Deaf community.
“Through these resources, the John Pierce Centre can provide a safe space for the Deaf community to learn about elder abuse, share their individual stories and seek tailored advice from professionals as appropriate,” said Katrina Mynard, Pastoral Care Coordinator at the John Pierce Centre.
The work was part of a larger project at JPC addressing elder abuse in the Deaf community, and joint effort to share knowledge and specialist training between the JPC and SRV. JPC staff have been trained to help identify at risk Deaf people and refer them on for assistance, while SRV employees have been trained in Deaf community awareness and are able to connect with clients using Auslan interpreters.
The work aligns with SRV’s commitment to better support the Deaf community with personalised and confidential support, and follows education sessions focused on Planning Ahead and navigating the Aged Care system.
“Staff from Seniors Rights Victoria appreciated the opportunity to learn about the Deaf community and its access needs,” added Chris Potaris, CEO of COTA Victoria.
“It’s important to acknowledge and assist this community of older Victorians who experience additional vulnerabilities.”
The organisations will continue to work together to promote these new resources throughout the Deaf community, create a referral pathway for Deaf community members to access support, and to provide additional information on more specific topics in the elder abuse space as required.
It’s hoped these efforts will empower older Deaf people to better understand their rights and what can be done to safeguard themselves, and will be the first phase of a fruitful long-term relationship between COTA Victoria, Seniors Rights Victoria, and the John Pierce Centre in service of older members of the Deaf community.
COTA Victoria is the leading not-for-profit organisation representing the interests and rights of people aged over 50 in Victoria. For over 70 years, we have led government, corporate and community thinking about the positive aspects of ageing in the state.
Today, our focus is on promoting opportunities for and protecting the legal rights of people 50+. We value ageing and embrace its opportunities for personal growth, contribution, and self-expression. This belief drives benefits to the nation and its states alongside communities, families, and individuals.
Seniors Rights Victoria (SRV) is a program of COTA Victoria and the key state-wide service dedicated to advancing the rights of older people and the early intervention into, or prevention of, elder abuse in our community.
SRV has a team of experienced advocates, lawyers, and social workers who provide free information, advice, referral, legal advice, legal casework, and support to older people who are either at risk of or are experiencing elder abuse. SRV supports and empowers older people through the provision of legal advice directly to the older person.
The John Pierce Centre (JPC) has more than 40 years of history in supporting the social connection and emotional wellbeing needs of the signing Deaf community in Victoria. We seek to empower all Deaf people and their families to live their lives to the full by offering individualised pastoral care, social interest groups, community activities, toddler playgroups and mass services, all within a safe and language accessible environment.
Senior Communications Advisor, COTA Victoria
Telephone: +61 3 9655 2159
Pastoral Care Coordinator, John Pierce Centre
Telephone: 03 9525 1158
Seniors Rights Victoria's Planning Ahead project is an elder abuse prevention project with a primary focus on providing information and education on planning for the future and what steps older people can take now to ensure their decision making autonomy is maintained throughout their lives even if they were to become unwell or lose cognitive capacity due to illness. It’s about ensuring human rights are upheld and wishes are known should medical, lifestyle and financial decisions need to be made in the future.
We provide education in a variety of settings; face to face with community groups, seniors groups, worker meetings, networks and online.
A session can include information about making an enduring power of attorney, appointing a medical treatment decision and advance care planning. Sessions will usually also be with one of our lawyers.
The goal of the project is ultimately to reduce the instances of elder abuse and inform people about the services provided by Senior Rights Victoria for older Victorians.
Examples of the communities we would like to engage with include people in regional areas, culturally diverse communities, First Nations communities, migrant and refugee people and those from LGBTIQA+ communities. SRV acknowledges the intersection of disadvantage for these communities and wants to ensure that the right information and advice is available in appropriate and accessible ways.
We have been working with service providers and community organisations that engage with older Victorians in Ballarat. We are now in the process of connecting with community leaders, community organisations and service providers in Shepparton, Bendigo and surrounding areas.
Interested in knowing more? Visit our resources page here, get in touch using our helpline at 1300 368 821, or email for more information.
COTA Victoria and Seniors Rights Victoria (SRV) celebrated International Women’s Day 2023 by reflecting upon the work of Jennifer Evans, SRV’s longest serving volunteer.
Jennifer and her fellow peer educators have a strong commitment to raising awareness of elder abuse and ensuring the rights of older people are protected through the talks they deliver as part of our Community Education Program. For her hard work and dedication, Jennifer was awarded a 2016 COTA Senior Achiever Award and was asked to speak at Seniors Rights Victoria’s ten-year anniversary celebration in 2018 (shown above).
Jennifer’s first engagement as a community educator was back in April 2011; she recounted how different her role was then as compared to now.
“To date I have delivered 94 talks to groups ranging in size from 10 to 90,” Jennifer said.
“In the early years, we did about 10 per cent of talks with an interpreter,” she continued. These days, SRV partners with the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria to trained bilingual educators to deliver these talks in different languages, increasing the reach of elder abuse prevention. SRV's efforts are currently expanding to provide Auslan support to the Deaf community.
After twelve years of service, Jennifer continues her volunteer work because she finds it extremely rewarding.
“Educating people about elder abuse and the support SRV offers — the difference that it is making — is so important,” Jennifer said. “When you give a talk and someone comes up afterwards and what you've said has really connected with them — they're either experiencing abuse themselves or they know someone who is — and they then follow up by calling the helpline, that’s one of the key things that keeps me going.”
“Having someone act on what you say, is so significant,” she continued. “When volunteering, you need to get something back. You need to feel that what you're doing is important; that it's worthwhile and you're appreciated.”
She also stressed that throughout her tenure as a volunteer, staff at Seniors Rights Victoria have worked hard to make peer educators “feel as if we are supported and valued”.
Elder Abuse sadly comes in many forms; on International Women’s Day, Jennifer highlighted how gender continues to be a factor.
“I happened to look at the news report detailing how Lisa Miller — the ABC morning presenter — was attacked on Twitter for what she wore recently,” Jennifer said.
“That hurts all women; if a young, highly intelligent woman in the public gets hammered like that, it has a flow on effect to all women. Many older women -- particularly if they haven't got support -- very easily feel undermined and undervalued.”
Both COTA Victoria and Seniors Rights Victoria offer volunteer opportunities in a range of areas; head here to learn more about how you can take part. Together, we’ll continue to promote opportunities and protect the rights of older women, who experience social, economic, and health disadvantage at a much higher rate than men.
Join Gary Ferguson from Seniors Rights Victoria and learn how to protect your rights as you grow older. Gary will also explore practical ways to plan for the future in this interactive session.
Light refreshments and a free ‘Take Control’ resource kit will be available on the day.
Philippa Campbell, who was the first Advocate at Seniors Rights Victoria (SRV) when it was established in 2008, sadly died on Friday 24 February, much too early. Philippa worked with SRV for over 10 years until 2019.
During her period at SRV, Philippa was a pioneer in her development of our organisation's response to elder abuse from a human rights base. She went on to become the Advocacy Team Leader. Philippa was generous in her personal support to colleagues in her team and beyond.
Philippa’s contribution to responding to elder abuse in the community was invaluable. Her insights came from a compassionate understanding of what it means to age in a society, which so often dismisses older people as irrelevant.
Philippa had a strong role in the content and strategy of the successful SRV submission to the Royal Commission into Family Violence which resulted in appearances before the Commission. The profile of elder abuse was raised by her strong contributions to the subsequent Victorian Government’s Family Violence Reform work, through multi-sector meetings, consultations, and input into the government’s prevention communications on elder abuse.
Philippa’s legacy will live on in those who were fortunate enough to have worked with her and those seniors, whose lives are safer and more dignified as a result of her being in the world. It is with this knowledge that we can take strength from what Philippa has left behind.
Image at top: Philippa Campbell accepting an award for ten years of service to Seniors Rights Victoria (via Gary Ferguson)
The Australian Government has joined with the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) and the National Aging Research Institute (NARI) to evaluate its National Plan to Respond to the Abuse of Older Australians.
"This project involves an evaluation of Australia’s first National Plan to Respond to the Abuse of Older Australians (Elder Abuse) 2019–2023 (the National Plan). The National Plan was developed to co-ordinate efforts across Commonwealth, states and territories to address elder abuse," reads an introduction to the survey.
"The purpose of this project is to evaluate the impact of the National Plan in driving responses to reduce and prevent the abuse of older Australians, with the aim of generating evidence to: a) assess the value of the current National Plan, and b) inform the future planning of similar activities beyond 2023," it continues.
The survey has 65 questions in total and takes between 20-30 minutes to complete. It can be accessed here.
The survey's introductory page also includes further information about the survey itself, including matters of privacy and confidentiality.
Please consider completing the survey and circulating to your networks and others. The results of the survey will inform the next National Plan, including funding.Image at top: Australian Government, Attorney-General's Department
Avital Kamil has joined COTA Victoria as the Principal Lawyer and Manager of Seniors Rights Victoria (SRV), and we warmly welcome her as she commences work in this key leadership role.
Avital has a history of promoting access to justice, education, advocating for and supporting vulnerable communities. She has sat on various committees and working groups both at local and state levels, including working groups addressing the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system, police misidentification of predominant aggressors, and the impact of family violence on culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
She has also consulted on the development of the Magistrates’ Court Digital Coordination Tool and Multidisciplinary Training Program to support the rollout of the Specialist Family Violence Courts across Victoria.
Avital’s practical legal experience includes work in private practice, in community legal service, at Victoria Legal Aid, and with the Victoria Police. She has prepared and appeared in complex criminal, civil, and family law matters and has undertaken significant stakeholder engagement and oversight of legal practice teams across the state.
In addition to a Bachelors in Laws / Bachelors in Arts, Avital holds a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice and a Masters in Law (Human Rights).
Welcome again to SRV, Avital!
Lizzie* shared with SRV the sad story of how her relationship with her daughter turned sour, resulting in heartache and financial loss.
Lizzie lives with Bipolar Disorder and an acquired brain injury. Her adult daughter, Jane* had a history of drug abuse and mental health challenges, which Lizzie had attempted to support her through for many years. Lizzie’s support included loaning money for Jane to go to rehab, other financial support, caring for Jane’s daughter and offering Jane a home and use of Lizzie’s car.
In 2019 Lizzie was experiencing some health challenges and invited Jane to move in with her rent free to provide some care and support. Lizzie and Jane had a verbal agreement about roles and responsibilities.
It wasn’t long before Jane became controlling and coercive over Lizzie. After a stint in hospital Lizzie was placed in residential care, so that her home could have some modifications before she went back. It was at this time that Jane started to take control of Lizzie’s house and car. Jane told people Lizzie was not returning home, despite Lizzie’s plans. Once Jane understood that Lizzie planned to return home, Jane stopped communication with her mother and changed her phone number.
Lizzie had hoped Jane would be her carer but instead Jane refused Lizzie entry to her own home and the police had to be involved. Jane listed Lizzie’s house, on realestate.com and the police had the listing removed. Jane also sold Lizzie’s furniture and refused to give Lizzie her car back.
Lizzie experienced shame and feelings of being a failure as a parent. She withdrew from other people and was not coping. The distress caused Lizzie mental health challenges, including increased anxiety, depression, and the exacerbation of her bipolar disorder.
Lizzie had a notice to vacate letter sent to Jane in 2021 and in 2022 a Family Violence Intervention order.
On top of the emotional stress and heartbreak at her daughter’s selfish and cruel actions, Lizzie calculates her financial losses to be over $35,000. Unfortunately, because no formal agreements were in place there is not much Lizzie can do to hold Jane accountable for the financial loss.
Although we all want to trust our loved ones, we can’t possibly know what the future holds. When people experience issues with substance abuse, mental health challenges or other major disruptions to their lives it can mean that they behave in ways that cause family relationships to breakdown. By creating Family Agreements you can clearly outline expectations and ensure everyone agrees. If you need someone to support you with finances it can be wise to make a formal appointment such as a Power of Attorney. This means that their power is outlined and if they act in a way that is not in accordance with the appointment, then legal action can be taken.
Although it can feel untrusting to create formal agreements with family, it protects everyone involved. To find out more about how you can plan ahead to protect your rights check out our video series.
Seniors Rights Victoria has a team of incredible advocates, who work tirelessly to support those experiencing or at risk of elder abuse, as well as people who are concerned about someone being impacted by elder abuse. The advocates offer advice and support.
This month we're profiling one of our advocates, Yvonne.
What do you do at SRV?
I am a Helpline Advocate. I provide information and advice on issues relevant to elder abuse and ensure that referrals are made to our legal and advocacy team where relevant.
How long have you worked at SRV?
What personal attribute do you think is essential to do your job?
If you could snap your fingers and become an expert in something, what would it be?
A magician ending world conflict & strife.
This year, the Federation of Community Legal Centres (FCLC) Vic, will be hosting a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) event, with 10 sessions available across two weeks.
All CPD sessions will be hosted online. Sessions are free for Federation members. For non-members,
session costs vary between $25-$75.
All sessions begin promptly at 2:00pm, and a representative of the Federation of Community Legal Centres will be online to greet attendees and open the session around 5 minutes before the scheduled start time.
Seniors Rights Victoria is presenting on 2nd March: Elder abuse – the warning signs in your legal practice
The program offers attendees a wonderfully wide range of topics and is bound to meet many sector needs.
All details can be found on Eventbrite