Seniors Rights Victoria has been contracted by Our Watch to consult with a wide array of organisations on the issue of older women who experience intimate partner violence.
Margarita is co-leading a campaign to prevent sexual abuse of older women. She shared her story on film to create a resource educating service providers and community members about the transformative power of listening to older women.
Margarita also wants to tell older women that sexual abuse is not their fault, and that there are support services available. The 18-minute film was previewed at Embolden (an annual Festival challenging ageism and building respect for older people) and at the recent Australian Association of Gerontology Conference before its public launch last week. Margarita is now surrounded by friends and feels safe in a residential aged care service that cares about her wellbeing.
“I hope that Margarita’s story will end the silence – I know of no other older woman who has felt safe enough to share her story publicly,” Dr Catherine Barrett said.
“In February 2019 we will launch a National story project…because we need to make sure that there is action, that the Royal Commission into Aged Care includes sexual abuse and that the National Strategy for Preventing Elder Abuse does as well.
To read more about the project and view the film go to Margarita’s page on the Opal Institute site.
The Power Project was launched with an interdisciplinary panel hosted by media celebrity Virginia Trioli which included representatives from the police, family violence services, legal and elder abuse services, sexual assault and advocacy services – all discussing the sexual abuse of older women by their partners, family members and service providers.
With more than 30 years’ experience of working with older people, Opal Institute Director Dr Catherine Barrett said the engaging interdisciplinary panel discussion was the ideal way to launch The Power Project, an innovative national resources to assist service provides and community members to work together to prevent sexual abuse.
Dr Barrett said the first stage of the project includes a website development and poster campaign to raise awareness about the power of listening.
“I’ve heard hundreds of accounts of sexual abuse of older women – and across all these accounts a common theme is the power of listening. Service providers, friends and family who listen can transform the lives of older women,” Dr Barrett said.
She said the aim of the Power Project is to show Australians the power we have to prevent the sexual abuse of older women.
Dr Barrett is calling for organisations, services, associations and individuals to become Power Project Champions.
For more information read The Power Project.