Category Archives: Elder Abuse

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

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. read more

Legal changes for medical treatment and guardianship

Victorians can now plan ahead for medical treatment to ensure their wishes are followed and their values considered when decisions are made on medical treatment after they lose medical decision-making capacity.

To understand more click Law Institute Victoria Law Institute’s Planning Ahead article.

In other legal updates the Victorian Government introduced new laws this week to better protect the rights of adults with disability to make and participate in decisions that affect their lives. The newly Guardianship and Administration Bill 2018 will replace 1986 laws to define decision-making capacity, including a presumption that a person has the capacity to make decisions unless evidence is provided otherwise. read more

Launch of Elder Abuse Prevention Network in Ballarat

Parliamentary Secretary for Human Services Sharon Knight MP neatly summed up the purpose of elder abuse prevention networks at the launch last month of the Victorian Government’s newest location, the Central Highlands Elder Abuse Prevention Project in Ballarat.

“The aim is to take prevention to where older Victorians meet and to the people who interact with them the most,” Ms Knight said. “We want them to know they will be supported and understood, and that help is at hand.”

The new network is hosted by Ballarat Community Health and is one of 10 across the state being funded by the Victorian Government. Its launch reiterated the touch-points for older people in the community with attendee representatives of many community groups including the Men’s Shed and the U3A, councils, aged care, health services and Victoria Police. read more

NARI launches elder abuse action plan

Victoria’s Public Advocate Colleen Pearce last month launched the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI)’s Elder Abuse Community Action Plan for Victoria at the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

Seniors Rights Victoria, the Office of the Public Advocate and community service providers all supported NARI to achieve this project.

“The key strength of this piece of work is that it sought to combine the insights of frontline practitioners with information about new policy contexts, existing services and cutting-edge trial projects, to come up with this plan,” Ms Pearce said at the launch. read more

Country Women’s Association Raising Awareness of Elder Abuse

The Country Women’s Association (CWA) in Victoria has adopted elder abuse as their main social issue to pursue in 2018 following the recommendation of their Social Issues Committee.

CWA Social Issues Committee Chairperson Viviane Chemali (pictured) has been promoting the availability of Seniors Rights Victoria speakers to CWA branches throughout Victoria.

About 30 women attended a presentation given by Seniors Rights Victoria Community Education Co-ordinator Gary Ferguson and volunteer speaker Jennifer Evans at the first of these talks held at Umina, the CWA State Headquarters last month. read more

Community Rallies to Stop Elder Abuse

On June 15, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, we stood together as a community in saying “we can stop elder abuse”.

Seniors Rights Victoria and the Office of Public Advocate hosted a booked-out forum at Melbourne Town Hall, at which the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon. George Brandis QC, launched (via video link) the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Report ‘Elder Abuse – A National Legal Response’. We welcome the release of the Report and commend the Australian Government on recognising the need for this Inquiry, which will provide a strong foundation for future action. read more