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Here are the abstracts for SRV's presentations at NEAC 2022. Please contact us if you would like further information.

Contributory visas and assurances of support: Recently arrived older people and family conflict

Presenters: Marnie Coghlan and Carmen Imfeld 

Seniors Rights Victoria (SRV) was concerned that there may be unaddressed elder abuse in migrant communities, particularly where older people had recently arrived in Australia to assist their younger family members. 

Carmela Quimbo, an experienced lawyer completing social work studies, undertook a scoping review of the issue while on a student placement at SRV. Carmela completed a literature review and interviews with service providers to better understand the effects of parent visa requirements, barriers faced by older migrants when experiencing family conflict, and potential solutions. 

The project found that while the conditions of the visa do not seem to make abuse more likely, they may exacerbate existing family conflict and increase financial pressures within the family. In addition, the complex visa conditions and assurance of support that renders the older person financially dependent on the child who has sponsored the visa, can inhibit an older person from seeking support for any abuse they experience. 

Marnie Coghlan presenting, with colleague Carmen Imfeld behind

Impact of Victorian pandemic lockdowns on Seniors Rights Victoria elder abuse services 

Presenter: Melanie Joosten

What effect has the COVID-19 pandemic had on people experiencing or at risk of elder abuse? 

This presentation discussed the known short-term consequences and the potential long-term impacts of the pandemic and associated lockdown response in Victoria. 

The presentation included a literature review and analysis of the effect of the pandemic on known risk factors of elder abuse: social isolation, impacts to health and wellbeing, economic stress, changes in care and living relationships, and external stressors on the victim survivor and the perpetrator. 

These risk factors were considered against data collected from the Seniors Rights Victoria helpline and advice service during 2020. This resulting analysis shows that the lockdowns, particularly in metropolitan Melbourne, had a direct impact on callers to the service. It had an effect on the type of abuse people were seeking help for, and their circumstance. 

Melanie Joosten, former SRV staff member, pictured centre at NEAC 2022

Information to help people recently diagnosed with dementia to plan ahead for peace of mind 

Presenters: Lucy Best and Andelka Obradovic 

The increased risk of elder abuse for people with dementia is often the result of a loss of decision-making capacity. This can mean that decisions are made on their behalf that might not align with their wishes. 

The conversations required in order to plan ahead can be difficult for loved ones. This means that planning is often neglected or avoided, making people with dementia more vulnerable as their condition progresses. 

In 2018 Seniors Rights Victoria (SRV) and Dementia Australia (DA) received funding, as part of the Victorian Government’s Integrated Services Fund, to work in partnership to deliver information for people with dementia and their carers. The information supports people to protect their rights and wishes, in order to safeguard them from future distress and potential elder abuse. 

As part of the project, SRV created informative videos which are available online. This presentation will discuss the videos and how they can be used in information sessions, as well as how the project has affected future planning behaviours of people recently diagnosed with dementia. 

Financial Elder Abuse trial site  

Presenters: Rebecca Edwards and Senior Sergeant Alasdair Gall Victoria Police 

The Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence recommended that Victoria Police scope options for a trial of a dedicated elder abuse response in a local service area.

In 2020, a Financial Elder Abuse Trial began operating in five trial sites across Victoria. While police have a clear enforcement role in investigating elder abuse, this trial is about intervening early to prevent further or escalating harm.

Senior Sargent Alasdair Gall spoke about the establishment of the trial and the general police response to the trial. Rebecca Edwards, Principal Lawyer at Seniors Rights Victoria, shared her views of the positive relationships that have developed between Victoria Police and Seniors Rights Victoria resulting in much better outcomes for older people experiencing elder abuse than the service was experiencing before the trial commenced.

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If you, or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse, help is available through our confidential helpline on 1300 368 821. If it is an emergency, call 000.
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