Ageing without fear – a discussion on elder abuse as family violence

One of the key results of the 2016 Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence was the recognition of elder abuse as family violence.  Nevertheless, the Royal Commission acknowledged that older people would have very specific needs that would need to be addressed by the family violence sector. A year into the reforms, gaps remain in how best to integrate older people in the service.  The family violence sector, focused on intimate partner violence, may not be presently equipped to cater to the needs of older people experiencing other types of elder abuse.  Further, older people experiencing elder abuse may not see their situation as one of family violence.

In order to build understanding between the two sectors, Seniors Rights Victoria has produced a suite of discussion papers on elder abuse as family violence, elder abuse and gender and preventing elder abuse.

  1. Elder Abuse as Family Violence explains how elder abuse is a form of family violence, and draws attention to its unique causes and characteristics.
  2. Elder Abuse and Gender explores the ways gender and sexual identity can affect an individual’s experience of elder abuse, mistreatment and disrespect. It also includes a discussion of the often under-recognised crime of sexual assault of older women.
  3. Preventing Elder Abuse describes activities that help prevent elder abuse from occurring, as well as actions that enable people to detect and respond to elder abuse in order to inhibit reoccurrences and prevent long-term harm.

The goal of the papers is to ultimately improve understanding and generate thoughts on best practice in preventing and responding to elder abuse.

These discussion papers will be launched on Friday, 4 May 2018, followed by a dynamic panel discussion of the key themes in the papers, such as elder abuse, gender, violence prevention, and cultural diversity. Our expert panelists are:

  • CEO, Family Safety Victoria, Sue Clifford
  • Assistant Commissioner, Family Violence Command, Victoria Police, Dean McWhirter
  • CEO, Pronia, Tina Douvos
  • Elder Abuse Prevention Networks Officer, Senior Rights Victoria, Alexia Huxley

Seniors Rights Victoria anticipates that there will be an exciting and productive discussion and that the papers produced will lead to a greater understanding of elder abuse as a form of family violence and result in better outcomes and service for older people experiencing abuse.