Seniors Rights Victoria is a Community Legal Centre and is a member of the Victorian Federation of Community Legal Centres and the National Association of Community Legal Centres. We provide information and referral, legal advice and legal casework on matters specifically related to elder abuse in conjunction with our individual social work advocacy and casework services.
Seniors Rights Victoria also supports Justice Connect’s health justice partnerships with St Vincent’s Hospital, Caulfield Community Health Service and Caulfield Hospital.
Who will Seniors Rights Victoria assist?
The person themselves
Seniors Rights Victoria can provide legal advice and legal casework to any Victorian aged 60 and above, or to any Indigenous Victorian aged 45 and above, on matters relating to elder abuse, mistreatment and neglect.
Seniors Rights Victoria assists any older Victorian who has the capacity to provide instructions. We presume people have capacity to make informed decisions unless demonstrated otherwise. We see capacity as specific to each decision the person has to make. Living with dementia does not necessarily exclude a person from our service.
Seniors Rights Victoria supports and empowers older people through the provision of legal advice directly to the older person.
We provide general, non-legal information, support and referrals to family members, friends and concerned others about elder abuse. We encourage family, friends and concerned others to support or facilitate the older person to make contact with us directly. If the family member, friend or concerned other has the older person’s consent, we will contact the older person. We also provide referrals to relevant services for concerned others.
What type of matters can Seniors Rights Victoria assist with?
Seniors Rights Victoria provides legal and social work advocacy and advice and, where resourcing and other considerations allow, legal casework on issues related to elder abuse such as:
- Intervention Orders (elder abuse is a form of family violence and intervention orders are often an available option);
- Arrangements involving the exchange of assets in return for the promise of care including ‘family care’, ‘assets for care’ and ‘granny flat’ arrangements;
- Situations involving adult children who return home to live or who never leave home;
- Behaviour that prevents people from making their own decisions about who they see or where they live including potential misuse of Powers of Attorney for personal decisions
- Financial Abuse including:
- Debts and loans;
- Misuse of financial Powers of Attorney;
- Transfer of property;
- Co-ownership disputes;
- Advice regarding disputes about contact with grandchildren;
- Guardianship and Administration;
- Future planning to protect against elder abuse, including Powers of Attorney and Wills
Please note: Seniors Rights Victoria does not draft Wills and Powers of Attorney, unless a case is open and a new Will or Power of Attorney is needed to prevent further abuse occurring.
How does Seniors Rights Victoria decide someone is eligible for the service?
No means test is applied, but in deciding whether to provide ongoing casework for a client, Seniors Rights Victoria will assess:
- whether the matter falls within the services guidelines, with elder abuse being the focus area;
- whether the client is experiencing any particular disadvantage or vulnerability;
- whether the client can afford to pay a private lawyer;
- whether other assistance or more appropriate services are available; and
- our workload and available expertise.
Seniors Rights Victoria also considers:
- whether the case is in the ‘public interest’ – that is, whether the issue is one that commonly affects Seniors Rights Victoria clients and so pursuing a court decision on the matter is likely to benefit a wider group;
- how the case relates to the systemic advocacy, law reform and education work of the legal service.
Legal matters outside of Seniors Rights Victoria scope:
Seniors Rights Victoria does not act in matters primarily about:
- consumer issues;
- complaints about residential care services or retirement villages;
- neighbourhood disputes;
- divorce and division of marital/partner property;
- social security and veteran’s affairs;
- criminal law;
- infringement matters.
However, ring our Helpline on 1300 368 821 and we may be able to assist you with an appropriate referral.