The Australian Government has committed $18.3m over four years to support the delivery of frontline services to people experiencing elder abuse. Funding has been allocated from the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s office through grants for Elder Abuse Service trials to continue to 2021–22. The service trials are assisting people aged 65 and over (or 50 and over for Indigenous Australians) and, in some cases, other family members. Three types of service trials are being funded: specialist elder abuse units, health justice partnerships and case management and mediation services.
Specialist elder abuse units
Specialist elder abuse units made up of lawyers, social workers and other specialist and support staff will work side-by-side with clients to develop a case plan and respond to the individual’s needs.
Health justice partnerships
Health care workers and social workers who identify older people potentially experiencing or at risk of elder abuse can refer them to specialised legal support. These legal support services will work in partnership with the health system and other agencies, such as community aged care services. Early evidence suggests this approach can reach very vulnerable people who can otherwise slip through the cracks.
Case management and mediation services
Case management and mediation services will work with the older person and their family to find solutions to the complex underlying problems driving abuse. This model recognises that older people may prioritise maintaining their relationship with their children and grandchildren.
Eleven organisations have been granted funding to deliver front-line services around the country:
- Eastern Community Legal Centre – Specialist elder abuse unit and health justice partnership in metropolitan Victoria
- Legal Aid Commission of NSW – Specialist elder abuse unit in metropolitan New South Wales
- Justice Connect NSW – Health justice partnership in metropolitan New South Wales
- Relationships Australia Canberra and Region Inc – Case management and mediation in Canberra and regional New South Wales
- Caxton Legal Centre Inc – Health justice partnership in metropolitan Queensland
- Relationships Australia (Qld) – Case management and mediation in metropolitan Queensland
- Relationships Australia (WA) – Case management and mediation in metropolitan Western Australia
- Kimberley Community Legal Services Inc – Specialist elder abuse unit in regional Western Australia
- Uniting Communities Inc – Specialist elder abuse unit in metropolitan South Australia
- Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania – Specialist elder abuse unit in regional Tasmania
- Relationships Australia (NT) – Case management and mediation in metropolitan and regional Northern Territory