Seniors Rights Victoria is turning 10 this year, with plans to celebrate our achievements in the pipeline. For such a young organisation, we punch above our weight!
- Since June 2009, we have had 17,101 calls to our helpline. Our calls per year now compared to that first year have doubled. Then, as now, financial elder abuse was the issue that most people called about.
- In the past 10 years, we have grown by leaps and bounds from just five staff to 14 people, working in prevention of elder abuse, community education, a helpline advice service, legal and social casework, communications, and policy and law reform. The professional expertise covers all these areas.
- We recently relocated with our fellow colleagues at the Council on the Ageing Victoria to accommodate our growing team, leaving the Block Arcade to be co-located on Level 4/533 Little Lonsdale, Melbourne – conveniently right near Flagstaff Train Station.
We have seen a huge spike in the acknowledgement and interest of elder abuse, resulting in part from the recommendations of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence in 2016 and the subsequent, ongoing Victorian government reforms, which recognise elder abuse as a form of family violence.
The Federal Government has also been integral in this space, with former Attorney General George Brandis launching the report of the Australian Law Reform Commission at our 2017 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day event and funding Elder Abuse Action Australia, an organisation supporting the national coordination and advocacy of issues related to elder abuse. Last month, the new Attorney General Christian Porter committed to putting forward a National Plan to combat elder abuse.
Although we have come far, Seniors Rights Victoria as an organisation has a lot more to do in order to continue to prevent and respond to elder abuse. A statement by Jenny Blakey, our manager made in 2012 holds true today as it did then:
“As I think about all that we have achieved, I am touched by a pleasant irony: we are a young organisation developing wisdom quickly, working with older people with a lifelong accumulation of wisdom,” Ms Blakey said.
“We aim to make a difference to older people who are at risk or experiencing elder abuse and the service providers who support them. We feel privileged to be empowering older people to stop elder abuse”.
To listen to a past client’s first person account of elder abuse click Meg’s Story.