SRV, JPC collaborate on new resources to prevent elder abuse in the Victorian Deaf community

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Seniors Rights Victoria (SRV) and the John Pierce Centre (JPC) have created valuable new resources designed to educate and support older Deaf Victorians dealing with issues of elder abuse.

Work between SRV and JPC identified information gaps that existed within the Deaf community, and focused on the creation of much-needed materials to cater to those needs. New pamphlets in English and elder abuse prevention videos in Auslan will assist those within the Deaf community better understand their right to live a life free from abuse, what elder abuse is, and how to seek support.

The Auslan clips are the key resource as part of the project, and will reflect the information in the pamphlets – themselves titled “What happens when family or friends hurt you?” and “What happens when you cannot make choices in your life?”. The videos will be uploaded to the JPC website and used on social media to spread the word in the Deaf community.

“Through these resources, the John Pierce Centre can provide a safe space for the Deaf community to learn about elder abuse, share their individual stories and seek tailored advice from professionals as appropriate,” said Katrina Mynard, Pastoral Care Coordinator at the John Pierce Centre.

The work was part of a larger project at JPC addressing elder abuse in the Deaf community, and joint effort to share knowledge and specialist training between the JPC and SRV. JPC staff have been trained to help identify at risk Deaf people and refer them on for assistance, while SRV employees have been trained in Deaf community awareness and are able to connect with clients using Auslan interpreters.

The work aligns with SRV’s commitment to better support the Deaf community with personalised and confidential support, and follows education sessions focused on Planning Ahead and navigating the Aged Care system.

“Staff from Seniors Rights Victoria appreciated the opportunity to learn about the Deaf community and its access needs,” added Chris Potaris, CEO of COTA Victoria.

“It’s important to acknowledge and assist this community of older Victorians who experience additional vulnerabilities.”

The organisations will continue to work together to promote these new resources throughout the Deaf community, create a referral pathway for Deaf community members to access support, and to provide additional information on more specific topics in the elder abuse space as required.

It’s hoped these efforts will empower older Deaf people to better understand their rights and what can be done to safeguard themselves, and will be the first phase of a fruitful long-term relationship between COTA Victoria, Seniors Rights Victoria, and the John Pierce Centre in service of older members of the Deaf community.


About us 

COTA Victoria is the leading not-for-profit organisation representing the interests and rights of people aged over 50 in Victoria. For over 70 years, we have led government, corporate and community thinking about the positive aspects of ageing in the state.

Today, our focus is on promoting opportunities for and protecting the legal rights of people 50+. We value ageing and embrace its opportunities for personal growth, contribution, and self-expression. This belief drives benefits to the nation and its states alongside communities, families, and individuals.

Seniors Rights Victoria (SRV) is a program of COTA Victoria and the key state-wide service dedicated to advancing the rights of older people and the early intervention into, or prevention of, elder abuse in our community.

SRV has a team of experienced advocates, lawyers, and social workers who provide free information, advice, referral, legal advice, legal casework, and support to older people who are either at risk of or are experiencing elder abuse. SRV supports and empowers older people through the provision of legal advice directly to the older person.

The John Pierce Centre (JPC) has more than 40 years of history in supporting the social connection and emotional wellbeing needs of the signing Deaf community in Victoria. We seek to empower all Deaf people and their families to live their lives to the full by offering individualised pastoral care, social interest groups, community activities, toddler playgroups and mass services, all within a safe and language accessible environment.

Further information 

Steve Wright
Senior Communications Advisor, COTA Victoria
Telephone: +61 3 9655 2159
Email: swright@cotavic.org.au

Katrina Mynard
Pastoral Care Coordinator, John Pierce Centre

Telephone: 03 9525 1158
Email: k.mynard@jpc.org.au

If you, or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse, help is available through our confidential helpline on 1300 368 821. If it is an emergency, call 000.
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