Tag Archives: COTA Victoria

Picture of the front of COTA Victoria's annual report

COTA Victoria launches annual report

More than 70 per cent of clients who received legal and advocacy services from Seniors Rights Victoria in the 2019-19 were women. While any older person can experience elder abuse, a person’s gender or sexual identity and related sexism, racism, homophobia and transphobia may exacerbate their experience of violence.

The most prevalent issue was financial abuse, which was raised by 41 per cent of the 3572 callers to the Seniors Rights Victoria helpline – 1300 368 821.

Find out more information about the activities of Seniors Rights Victoria during the 2018-19 financial year in the COTA Victoria Review |2018 – 2019.  Seniors Rights Victoria is a program of the Council on the Ageing Victoria. read more

LGBTI advocate wins COTA Senior Achiever Award

Transgender Victoria volunteer Brenda Appleton, 67, was one of the COTA Senior Achiever Award recipients at the 2018 Victorian Seniors of the Year awards hosted by the Governor of Victoria Linda Dessau AC at Government House (pictured together).

Brenda was nominated by the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) for her advocacy, education and research participation on care services for older members of the LGBTI community, particularly transgender people.

COTA Victoria has been one of the fortunate partners of Brenda’s insight through the Safeguarding the End of the Rainbow, a guide done in conjunction with Transgender Victoria to help LGBTI people plan an end of life of their choice taking into account their life experiences. Seniors Rights Victoria has also benefited from insights into Brenda’s work and lived experiences, through her participation in regular meetings of the Elder Abuse Roundtable, a collegiate group of collaborating professionals working in that field.

“I volunteer because my life has been difficult. It’s difficult when you don’t meet society’s expectations of gender, when you’re different and, I’m trying to make it easier for those coming behind. We need society to be much more accepting of difference,” Brenda said in an interview about the award.

“I know many have struggled with mental health issues, not because they are mentally ill, but because of the stigma and discrimination they face in our very judgemental world….I have a vision that society accepts difference, whatever that might mean”.

Brenda said she enjoyed being an advocate and contributing to her community by volunteering.

For more information about the 2018 Victorian Senior of the Year awards and a list of winners visit seniorsonline.vic.gov.au/awards 

Elder abuse service celebrates 10 year milestone

Seniors Rights Victoria, an elder abuse service based on the advocacy-social worker/lawyer model is this year celebrating its 10 year anniversary with a celebration on Thursday 4 October.

Guest speakers will include Victorian Commissioner for Seniors and Ambassador for Elder Abuse Gerard Mansour and Seniors Rights’ peer educator Jennifer Evans.

A visionary Victorian State Government initiative, Seniors Rights Victoria was established by the Victorian Government in 2008 following the review conducted by ex-Senator Barney Cooney. In that year the State Government adopted a state-wide elder abuse strategy – the first state in Australia to do so!

Elder abuse is any act causing harm to an older person by someone they know and trust, such as family and friends.

Now a program of COTA Victoria, Seniors Rights Victoria continues to have a key role in the delivery of the Victorian Government’s Elder Abuse Prevention and Response strategies and initiatives to contribute to the response, prevention and education of elder abuse in Victoria.

In 10 years Seniors Rights Victoria has achieved:

  • 22,063 calls to our Helpline
  • 29,182 participants in community education sessions
  • 12,247 participants in professional development sessions
  • And produced nine different information sheets, and the booklet, Care for Your Assets: Money, Ageing & Family.

The Royal Commission into Family Violence was another significant initiative of the current Government, with the 2016 report and arising family violence reforms clearly identified elder abuse as a form of family violence. The impact has been a growth in awareness of elder abuse and additional older people seeking help.

“We support older people to make positive changes and we learn from them. We also make major contributions to State and Federal government policy and action in this sector,” said Seniors Rights Victoria Manager Jenny Blakey.

“We appreciate the respect and positive responses we receive about our service, and from the leadership opportunities to collaborate and share our knowledge.”

NARI director joins Seniors Rights Victoria advisory committee

Seniors Rights Victoria is pleased to announce that Briony Dow, Director of the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) and Associate Professor of Ageing at the University of Melbourne, has joined its Elder Abuse Advisory Committee.

The Elder Abuse Advisory Committee contribute to the strategic direction of Senior Rights Victoria, to support its operations and make recommendations to the board of the Council on the Ageing Victoria, of which Seniors Rights Victoria is a program.

Briony has worked on a number of joint research projects with Seniors Rights Victoria and/or its staff, including Elder Abuse Community Action Plan for Victoria in 2018; Understanding Elder Abuse Scoping Study in 2017; and The Older Person’s Experience: Outcomes of Interventions into Elder Abuse in 2016.

At NARI, Briony oversees a range of both social and clinical gerontology research programs, including her own research into elder abuse and carer mental health. At the University of Melbourne, Briony teaches a subject in the on-line Masters of Ageing.

Briony has been at NARI for 15 years during which time she has published over 60 peer reviewed publications and over 30 major reports to government. Prior to her work at NARI, Briony practised as a social worker in community aged care. She is a past President of the Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG) and she represents NARI and the AAG on the Australian Government’s Aged Care data Advisory Group and the Australian Aged Care Quality Indicators Technical Advisory Panel.

The team at Seniors Rights Victoria is delighted to have Briony’s expertise join the advisory committee, which also consists of George Koulis, John Chestman, Ian Dunn, Ron Burke and Aaron Wiley.