Cover of Older Better Together report

Research puts spotlight on community solutions

Ten primary Elder Abuse Prevention Networks have been established in regional and metropolitan areas across Victoria. The networks aim to raise awareness and change attitudes towards elder abuse across the community. During 2018, Seniors Rights Victoria and consultants Think Impact conducted action research in conjunction with five of the networks. The research examined:

  • community perceptions of the drivers of elder abuse
  • how networks connect with their communities
  • activities they are conducting.

The research report, Older, Better, Together: A network approach to preventing elder abuse before it happens, is now available online. The summary booklet that includes recommendations for action can be downloaded or order a printed copy from Seniors Rights Victoria.

The report identifies community understanding of the drivers of elder abuse including:

  • perceived or real diminished capacity
  • isolation or lack of connection
  • the on-going parent-child dynamic
  • undervaluing of and lack of support for carer relationships.

Networks have operated in different ways to involve community groups and services – including schools, TAFE, police, health centres, sporting clubs and social groups for different CALD communities. They have conducted awareness raising and education for professionals and used Facebook and local media to connect with older people and present positive images of older people.

The report identifies some poorly understood areas including:

  • experience of LGBTI communities in relation to elder abuse
  • lack of acknowledgement and understanding of sexual abuse of older women
  • lack of services available for older people experiencing elder abuse in rural and regional areas
  • the need to involve local businesses that come into contact with older people.

The research highlights the importance of continuing to explore creative, multi-generational approaches to gain attention and achieve a whole of community approach to preventing elder abuse.