Seniors Rights Victoria employs experienced advocates, such as social workers, to provide free information, referral, support and education to older people who are either at risk of or experiencing elder abuse. Our advocates work to support and empower older people. They work to safeguard the older person’s rights, dignity and independence.
The advocacy team:
- Talks directly with the older person by telephone or face-to-face in a safe place;
- Listens to the older person’s concerns and explores options;
- Is guided by the older person’s wishes;
- Keeps information confidential – only liaising with other people and organisations with the older person’s permission;
- If the older person agrees, links them into appropriate services;
- In some instances, provides practical support and/or a supportive presence for the older person.
Some examples of assistance include:
- Referral for counselling;
- Help navigating Centrelink enquiries;
- Practical assistance with the financial sector;
- Support through a court process;
- Help navigating referral pathways for suitable and affordable housing;
- Linking in with My Aged Care services.
Working with Concerned Family and Others
Seniors Rights Victoria’s advocates also provide information and support to family members, friends and concerned others about elder abuse. However, they will not provide any on-going casework or discuss the specifics of individual cases without consent from the older person.
Our advocates recognise that positive relationships are important strengths for an older person and where an older person provides us with consent to work with a concerned other, we do so. However, we need to speak directly with the older person, at times without the family member or concerned other present, to know we are hearing directly from the older person what their wishes are.
Some examples of assistance provided by our advocates to a concerned family, friend or other include:
- Providing tips and strategies for the concerned other to encourage the older person to contact Seniors Rights Victoria directly or to get their consent to us contacting them;
- Talking to the concerned other about support for themselves;
- Referrals to appropriate services who may be able to provide further assistance to the concerned other;
- Referrals to the Office of the Public Advocate where the concerned other tells us that the older person cannot make their own decisions;
- Referrals to Elder Rights Advocacy where the matter relates to institutional abuse such as within an Aged Care setting.
Working with local agencies and service providers
The advocacy team also works with local agencies and services providers. We:
- Provide secondary consultations;
- Identify existing expertise;
- Facilitate the sharing of information and resources; and
- Aim to improve access to community resources for older people experiencing elder abuse, wherever they may live in Victoria.
If you, your client or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse, please contact our free, confidential Helpline: 1300 368 821.