Category Archives: Elder Abuse

Gina pursues elder abuse prevention message

When Seniors Rights Victoria’s peer educator Gina Fiske has an older person start to talk to her about the disrespect they are being shown in the family, she stops talking and listens.

Gina brings the breadth of a career in family, youth and child programs and heath prevention. She understands the most important aspect for someone brave enough to share their elder abuse story is to be believed.

“People are often fearful of talking to other people about their situation, they’ve often lived with it for a long time,” Gina said. read more

We can prevent elder abuse in communities

While there is no comprehensive data available for the prevalence of elder abuse in Australia, it is estimated that up to 14 per cent of older people may be experiencing abuse.

In most cases elder abuse is an intergenerational form of family violence. In 2016-17, people aged 60 years or over made up just over 5,400 of the family members affected in family violence incidents recorded by Victoria Police (Crime Statistics Agency).

“Just as respectful relationships within families help prevent family violence, respect for older family members is a primary protection against elder abuse, particularly when it comes to a family’s financial arrangements,” Seniors Rights Victoria Manager Jenny Blakey said. read more

Maria’s shares her experience of elder abuse

For this year’s WEAAD, Seniors Rights Victoria asked two former clients, Maria* (pictured) and Meg* to share their stories about elder abuse within their families. It was hard for both Victorian women to speak about their experiences, but then neither want any family to endure what they have. Elder abuse is not a happy story, but changes can be made.

Maria’s issues began after she took in her adult son to help him through difficult personal and financial times. Despite positive beginnings, things quickly soured.  Arguments ensued around Maria’s son using her credit card without paying her back, refusing to contribute to household expenses, stealing $8000 worth of stamps from a collection and finally, making physical threats on her life. read more

Should elder abuse be criminalised?

To link with this year’s Law Week activities hosted in May and in advance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on 15 June, Seniors Rights Victoria has released some additional discussion papers covering some legal complexities linked with elder abuse.

The initial series of discussion papers released aim to build understanding between the family violence sector and older people experiencing elder abuse, acknowledging that despite the progress of reforms into family violence, gaps remain on how best to integrate older people in this space. read more

Share your views on elder abuse in the community

Seniors Rights Victoria is supporting the Elder Abuse Prevention Networks project across the state by assisting the implementation of a community survey about elder abuse.

A Victorian Government funded project, the Elder Abuse Prevention Network (EAPN) will operate at 10 sites in regional, outer urban and metropolitan areas at an individual and community level, to raise awareness and educate communities about the rights of older people.

Senior Rights Victoria EAPN Project Officer Alexia Huxley said seven sites have been chosen for the networks. They are being run by different organisations including several community health services, a community legal centre and local councils. read more

Seniors Rights Victoria celebrates 10 year milestone

Seniors Rights Victoria celebrates 10 year milestone

We’ve been reflecting on some of the milestone achievements of Seniors Rights Victoria in our first 10 years, with the anniversary date commemorated recently with a small staff party.

More community festivities are being planned for later in the year, but in the meantime we hope you’ll join us in celebrating the difference we can all make fighting elder abuse.

  • Victorian Crime Statistics Agency: Their Family Violence Data Framework adopted significant portions of our feedback, including providing more specific age ranges for people experiencing family violence, their relationship to the perpetrator and cultural background.
  • ASIC requested our submissions on reverse mortgages, we made submissions on meeting with clients alone, mandated interpretation and translation and independent legal and financial advice.
  • Meeting with Ken Wyatt to talk about our take on Elder Abuse
  • NARI Elder Abuse Community Action Plan for Victoria states that they worked in partnership with us and that our input was key.
  • Invited to participate in the Older Women Living Alone (OWLa) advisory group with Bolton Clarke
  • Our Policy Officer Melanie Joosten spoke at for HAAG AGM
  • Melanie also spoke on the Caxton Legal Centre panel on elder abuse, recorded for ABC Big Ideas podcast

Most importantly, we still help older people in our community. Since June 2009, we have had 17,101 calls to our helpline.  Our calls per year now compared to that first year have doubled.  Then, as now, financial elder abuse was the issue that most people called about. read more

Seniors Rights Victoria celebrates 10 year milestone

Seniors Rights Victoria is turning 10 this year, with plans to celebrate our achievements in the pipeline.  For such a young organisation, we punch above our weight!

  • Since June 2009, we have had 17,101 calls to our helpline. Our calls per year now compared to that first year have doubled.  Then, as now, financial elder abuse was the issue that most people called about.
  • In the past 10 years, we have grown by leaps and bounds from just five staff to 14 people, working in prevention of elder abuse, community education, a helpline advice service, legal and social casework, communications, and policy and law reform. The professional expertise covers all these areas.
  • We recently relocated with our fellow colleagues at the Council on the Ageing Victoria to accommodate our growing team, leaving the Block Arcade to be co-located on Level 4/533 Little Lonsdale, Melbourne – conveniently right near Flagstaff Train Station.

We have seen a huge spike in the acknowledgement and interest of elder abuse, resulting in part from the recommendations of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence in 2016 and the subsequent, ongoing Victorian government reforms, which recognise elder abuse as a form of family violence.

The Federal Government has also been integral in this space, with former Attorney General George Brandis launching the report of the Australian Law Reform Commission at our 2017 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day event and funding Elder Abuse Action Australia, an organisation supporting the national coordination and advocacy of issues related to elder abuse.  Last month, the new Attorney General Christian Porter committed to putting forward a National Plan to combat elder abuse. read more

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Seniors Rights Victoria is in planning mode for this year’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), remembered globally on June 15 each year, including the development of key themes for the 2018 celebrations.

The United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution 66/127, designated that day for WEAAD as the main day in the year when the world voices its opposition to the abuse and suffering inflicted on older people.

An increasing number of activities and events are held across the globe on this day to raise awareness of elder abuse, and highlight ways to challenge such abuse. Information on activities in Victoria will be updated on our WEAAD website as details become available, and you can also register your own event. Look for our updated WEAAD Toolkit which should be available by the end of April, customise this media release for your own event and order your WEAAD merchandise. read more

National EA Conference – The Gift That Keeps on

Seniors Rights Victoria held a workshop on financial elder abuse as part of this year’s national Elder Abuse Conference hosted by the NSW-based Seniors Rights Service in Sydney last month.

Seniors Rights Victoria Principal Lawyer Rebecca Edwards and Community Lawyer Tabitha O’Shea presented the case study of Linda, a single, retired academic aged in her 70s, who had agreed to sell her house and contribute 50 per cent, a total of $500,000, to the purchase of a home by her daughter Gina and Gina’s family, husband Mike and two sons. The plan was that Linda would live in a self-contained section of the house. Sadly, once the move was made Linda was subjected to increasing verbal abuse and threats to kick her out of the home. read more

The Power Project – older women and sexual abuse

Seniors Rights Victoria participated in the launch of the Power Project at last month’s National Elder Abuse Awareness Conference, contributing to an awareness campaign by the OPAL Institute about the sexual abuse of older women.

The Power Project was launched with an interdisciplinary panel hosted by media celebrity Virginia Trioli which included representatives from the police, family violence services, legal and elder abuse services, sexual assault and advocacy services – all discussing the sexual abuse of older women by their partners, family members and service providers. read more