Booklet provides assistance for helpline callers

Information about Elder Abuse and what to do if you are aware that it is happening to someone close to you are the focus of a booklet that will be produced in early September by Seniors Right Victoria.

The booklet, Concerned About an Older Person, will be distributed to people who call the Seniors Rights Victoria helpline. ‘Half the people who call the helpline are concerned about someone they know,’ said Seniors Rights Victoria Manager Jenny Blakey.

‘A quarter of callers are service providers, and the rest are people who are experiencing elder abuse from a family member or some other person who is close to them.

‘Although we provide support to people calling about someone they know, we only act when the person who is experiencing the abuse contacts us to ensure we act on their directions.

‘The booklet will help concerned family, friends and service providers take practical steps to help the person experiencing abuse.’

Ms Blakey said that might include persuading the older person to contact Seniors Rights Victoria themselves, but it also provides the details of other services that might assist if the older person is reluctant to contact Seniors Right Victoria.

The booklet includes information on:

  • what is elder abuse
  • signs that someone may be experiencing elder abuse
  • what you can do if someone you know is experiencing elder abuse
  • how you can help to ensure that person is safe including preparing a safety plan
  • answers to common questions, including if the older person does not want to involve services or the police
  • what to do if the person is from a diverse community including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, culturally and linguistically diverse, LGBTIQA+ or from a rural area.

The booklet has been funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services under the state’s initiative to reduce family violence.

Gary Ferguson, Seniors Rights Victoria’s Education Coordinator, led the project to produce the booklet with the support of a project advisory group. The advisory group’s members were:

  • Chair, Gerard Mansour, Commissioner for Senior Victorians
  • Maureen Smith, Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria
  • Graeme Westaway, Better Place Australia
  • Dimitri Bouras, Pronia (which advocates and cares for the Greek community)
  • Julian Alban, Family Safety Victoria
  • Anne Muldowney, Carers Victoria
  • Fran Jacka, Family Safety Victoria
  • Belinda Nixon, Dementia Australia

Victoria Legal Aid tested the booklet with several focus groups.

Seniors Rights Victoria acknowledges the contribution of Naomi Bailey at Women’s Health Goulburn North East, who managed the content development for the booklet.