Category Archives: Uncategorized

Introducing our new community lawyer By Jessica Tighe

Last January Seniors Rights Victoria provided a fine demonstration of their anti-ageist ethos by hiring a 25-year-old lawyer.  So with the shackles of private practice left safely behind me in Canberra, I returned to my hometown of Parkes, NSW, to load up a car and get the eight hour road-trip south underway – eager to meet this new challenge head on.

Injustice of any kind rankles, but for me there is something particularly galling about attitudes that reduce diverse demographics to their vulnerabilities; something abhorrent in the sense of entitlement that leads to early inheritance syndrome, and the greed that overrides trust and family ties. read more

2017 – A year in review

The past year saw tremendous growth in recognition of elder abuse. For Seniors Rights Victoria this meant a hectic year due to the pace of reforms, increased government interest in elder abuse and a higher level of demand upon our services, both for assistance with elder abuse from those experiencing it and from services consulting our expertise.

Seniors Rights Victoria has been participating in high level committees and working groups as a result of the State Government’s continued focus on family violence reform, the publicity on family violence and elder abuse, the State Government’s Elder Abuse Prevention Advisory Group and the Federal Government setting objectives to tackle elder abuse. We keenly took part despite only being a small service provider. To assist us to participate in the work on family violence, the Victorian Government supported us with a grant for a part-time policy position, and funds to enable our Advocacy Coordinator to contribute our expertise in meetings and consultations. We also continued to participate in the workforce development for the Department of Health and Human Services Integrated Model of Care in partnership with St Vincent’s Health Melbourne and the Bouverie Centre. This helps keep older people in the big picture. read more

Our Practice – The Helpline

There has been a substantial increase in calls to the Seniors Rights Victoria confidential telephone helpline which provides information, support and referrals on weekdays from 10am to 5pm (excluding public holidays and between Christmas and New Year’s Day).

In 2016–17, the helpline service received 3379 calls (2696 previous year), of which 3285 were related to elder abuse or associated issues.

Women made up more than 75 per cent of all callers. However, we recognise that elder abuse can affect all older persons and cater our services accordingly. read more

Elder abuse prevention network milestone

Seniors Rights Victoria recently led an interagency workshop about elder abuse as part of the Elder Abuse Prevention Network (EAPN) project, one of the Victorian Government’s preventative responses to the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

The Victorian Government is funding the establishment of 10 elder abuse networks to collaborate at a community level and focus on the prevention of elder abuse. Seniors Rights Victoria is supporting this work by conducting research on the project which began with the workshop and will continue until February 2019. read more

Case study – Judy’s Story

Judy*, in her 70s, lives in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. She has two adult children, Rosemary and Jeremy. Three years ago Jeremy moved back in with Judy after the breakdown of his own relationship. He shares the care of his six-year-old daughter Claire with his former partner.

At the time, Jeremy did not work and he became verbally abusive towards Judy when she suggested he look for a job and contribute to the household expenses.

Judy found Jeremy’s behaviour increasingly threatening but because she was concerned for Claire’s welfare she was reluctant to take any action. As Jeremy’s behaviour escalated Judy no longer saw her other grandchildren or had friends come to visit. read more

Federal launch of Elder Abuse Action Australia

The Federal Government celebrated International Day of Older Persons in October by announcing funding for a national elder abuse prevalence study, increased training for professionals and the public and a new elder abuse peak body.

The initiatives are part of the Government’s $15 million election commitment to leading a national agenda to address elder abuse in Australia.

Attorney-General George Brandis is establishing a national peak body, Elder Abuse Action Australia (EAAA), to support the national coordination and advocacy of issues related to prevention of elder abuse with $250,000 funding per annum for two years. read more

Conference to showcase Seniors Rights Victoria expertise

Seniors Rights Victoria has been confirmed to do some of the presentations at the 5th National Elder Abuse Conference being held in Sydney early next year.

Seniors Rights Victoria’s Principal Lawyer Rebecca Edwards and Community Lawyer Tabitha O’Shea will present The Gift that Keeps Giving: Evidence and Practice Issues in Bringing Financial Elder Abuse Claims.

The legal team will explain how making a claim based on financial elder abuse is riddled with complexity.  As courts presume that a transfer of property or money from an older person to an adult child is a gift, the burden of proving otherwise falls on the older person.  The presentation address issues of how to prove such a claim and will provide an understanding of working with older persons and the feelings of anger, shame and guilt that may arise when confronting a loved one in an adversarial setting. read more

Telechat launches in Alpine community

Seniors Rights Victoria has welcomed the introduction of a Telechat Program in the Victorian Alpine region to provide regular telephone calls to people who may benefit from a weekly social chat.

The Telechat Program is when friendly volunteers phone participants at an agreed time, generally once a week, to share conversation and catch up.

The service was recently launched in Bright by Gerard Mansour, the Commissioner for Senior Victorians and Ambassador for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.

Mr Mansour highlighted how a small action such as a weekly telephone call from a Telechat volunteer can help break down the isolation experienced by older people living in rural areas so they remain connected and included in their community. read more

Hellos and goodbyes

Eastern Community Legal Centre’s Partnership Coordinator Kaz McKay recently finished up in her role after more than seven years of championing elder abuse prevention in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.

Kaz began the role as one of nine elder abuse prevention coordinators across the state, eventually gaining funding from Senior Rights Victoria for a partnership approach to support professional service providers seeking to prevent this form of family violence in that broad community.

Kaz said when she first began to unpack the experience of people with a family member being abused it soon became evident that the older person’s network was a vital tool to monitor a situation and provide more support structures. read more

Free Community Forum: ‘Older, Wiser and in Control: Respecting Seniors’ Rights’

Seniors Rights Victoria, Bayside City Council and St Leonard’s Uniting Church are pleased to present an open discussion about elder abuse – the signs, prevention and resources for seniors, family and community members.

Sunday August 27th, 2.00 – 3.30pm

St Leonard’s Uniting Church, 2 Wolseley Grove, Brighton

This is a free event, but please register at contact@stleonards.org.au.

Click here for a copy of the flyer.