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.

NARI Director and co-author of the plan Associate Professor Briony Dow said elder abuse was a serious problem in Victoria, but like many issues affecting older people was often treated as a second-class problem.

“NARI research has shown that tackling elder abuse is difficult not least because older people do not want to talk about their experiences…..Many older people we have spoken to feel deep shame and fear further abuse,” Ms Dow said.

The research identified 10 priorities in the state-wide action plan to address elder abuse:

  1. Clarify the relationship between family violence and elder abuse.
  2. Raise community awareness of elder abuse and promote a positive image of older people to reduce ageism.
  3. Increase availability of “older person centred” alternatives to disclosing elder abuse.
  4. Standardise tools for recognising abuse, and develop and implement a common framework for responding to elder abuse.
  5. Increase availability of family (elder) mediation services including for people living in rural areas and CALD communities.
  6. Provide education and training on elder abuse for all health professionals in health and aged care services.
  7. Improve data and increase evaluation.
  8. Clarify whether carer stress is a risk factor for elder abuse.
  9. Improve understanding and response to elder abuse in CALD and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
  10. Improve housing options for both perpetrators and victims of elder abuse.

To read more about the Action Plan including the recommendations go to NARI’s Action Plan.