Martin, 64 years of age, had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s and was living at home with his wife of many years. Martin’s wife was appointed as his Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA). Martin experienced a psychotic episode after the administration of a trial drug for Alzheimer’s. Following a period of hospitalisation, Martin’s wife admitted Martin into residential care without any consultation with him or his family.
Martin’s brother rang the SRV helpline seeking assistance for Martin. A telephone advice appointment was arranged for Martin to speak to a lawyer and an advocate at SRV, with his brother there for support. During the advice appointment, it was clear that Martin wanted to leave the facility and live independently and freely. Martin’s brother confirmed that he was prepared to assist Martin to do so, if there were no legal restrictions.
The lawyer and advocate provided initial advice to Martin, informing him of his rights. Martin requested a copy of his EPOA from the manager at the facility. He was denied this right.
After consulting with Elder Rights Advocacy and the SRV lawyer, the SRV advocate contacted the manager of the facility. The advocate explained that the refusal was a breach of Martin’s rights and the facility’s obligations under the Charter of Aged Care. The manager was unaware of the requirements under the Charter of Aged Care and apologised, saying that Martin would be given a copy of his EPOA.
Martin and his brother received ongoing legal advice and advocacy support/coaching for Martin to leave the facility. Martin moved in with his brother and sister in law, who was supportive of the plan and an experienced aged care worker. He then needed to remove his wife as EPOA, as she had continued to ignore his will and preference, was selling off his personal items and had accessed Martin’s superannuation and other bank accounts – all without Martin’s consent.
The SRV lawyer advised Martin and his brother to lodge an application to VCAT, under the Guardianship and Administration Act, seeking removal of the Attorney. SRV supported them with the application and assisted with gathering medical reports and undertaking a cognitive assessment by a neurologist experienced in cognitive decline.
For nearly two years, the SRV advocate and lawyer supported Martin. This included representing Martin at VCAT hearings, having regular consultations, and liaising with external services such as mental health providers, NDIS, and a private law firm. While it was clear to SRV staff that Martin did have cognitive decline, SRV took an empowerment approach to their assistance of Martin. Martin was able to clearly identify and communicate his intended goals. Martin’s brother demonstrated his commitment to support Martin achieve his goals and to live independently.
Martin now lives independently in his own unit, in a lifestyle village. He manages all areas of his life except for his financial matters. His brother is his financial administrator, as per a VCAT order. Martin has concluded a family law property settlement and obtained a divorce. He had his driver’s license reinstated and purchased a car. He attends exercise classes twice weekly, walks daily, and spends time with family and friends. Martin is in good physical health. His cognition has improved so much that he has resumed his passion for reading books. Martin’s next goal in the coming months is to drive solo to QLD to visit friends.
If you, or someone you know needs of some support you can call the SRV Helpline on 1300 368 821
Compass is a national website navigating elder abuse in Australia. Compass aims to create a national focus on elder abuse by raising awareness and connecting people to services and information tackling elder abuse.
Compass is hosting a free webinar that will help you identify the key risk factors and warning signs that are connected to the abuse of older people. Register here.
Join the conversation and have your questions answered.
Compass is bringing together experts from across the community, to help you identify the key risk factors and the early warning signs that are connected to the abuse of older people.
The webinar will highlight types of abuse, common behaviours of perpetrators and tactics that are used. The webinar will also identify ways you can respond if you are experiencing abuse or if you are a witness to abuse or suspect elder abuse is happening to someone you know.
Seniors Rights Victoria collects a lot of data about who calls our helpline and why, as well as how many data about the advice we give and the cases we support. We reviewed our helpline data over the final six months (July-December) of 2021 and compared the data to the same six months the previous year.
Here are the results:
The helpline is currently being reviewed.
Domestic Violence Victoria (DV Vic) and the Domestic Violence Resource Centre (DVRCV) have united to form Safe and Equal, Victoria’s peak body for family and gender-based violence.
For more than three decades, Domestic Violence Victoria (DV Vic) and the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (DVRCV) have been two key organisations in the establishment and coordination of the specialist family violence sector in Victoria.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call triple zero (000). If you would like to find specialist family violence services in your area, please view the Safe and Equal support services page. Find a service
In 2019, the Boards identified the possibility of a merger and after comprehensive consultation with staff, members and other stakeholders, the Boards and members of DV Vic and DVRCV voted to merge in March 2020. This merger represents an exciting new chapter in the extensive histories of both organisations.
Launched on 17 November 2021, Safe and Equal, is now the peak body for specialist family violence services supporting victim survivors in Victoria.
“Following the Royal Commission into Family Violence, the Victorian specialist family violence sector has been subject to major and ongoing reforms,” said Safe and Equal Chair Stacey Ong.
“It became clear that by bringing together the skills and expertise of both organisations, we could increase and strengthen our capacity to support specialist services through these changes and into the future.”
Safe and Equal will continue to work with practitioners and leaders to:
“The roles of DV Vic and DVRCV have always been highly complementary, with closely aligned visions, purpose and values, and frequent collaboration in advocacy and campaigning,” said Safe and Equal CEO Tania Farha.
“This merger provides the specialist family violence sector with a peak organisation that has more reach than ever before, across the continuum of prevention to recovery.”
The new name, Safe and Equal, was selected after extensive consultation and feedback from victim survivors. It is a bold statement in support of the organisation’s vision: a world beyond family and gender-based violence, where women, children and all people from marginalised communities are safe, thriving and respected.
Visit Safe and Equal's new website for resources, including professional development.
A campaign to raise awareness of elder abuse has been launched by the Australian Human Rights Commission.
The video campaign raises awareness about the warning signs of elder abuse and where to get support.
Thousands of Australians experience elder abuse every year, and sometimes from those closest to them. Calls to the National Elder Abuse phone line increased by 87% between January 2021 to June 2021 compared to the previous six months.
“Elder abuse can happen to any older person, regardless of their background, and anyone who comes into contact with older people – be it friends, family, health professionals, hairdressers, librarians and many others – may be in a position to notice signs of elder abuse,” Age Discrimination Commissioner the Hon Dr Kay Patterson AO said.
“A key risk factor for financial elder abuse is an increase in financial pressures on the children of older people, such as loss of employment and rising housing costs. COVID-19 may be exacerbating these pressures,” Dr Patterson said.
The National Elder Abuse phone line is Australia-wide, free and confidential.
You will be connected through to the most appropriate service, including Seniors Rights Victoria's helpline.
You can also call the Seniors Rights Victoria helpline on 1800 368 821
The Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing is offering a series of free webinars in 2022.
The online Diversity Webinar series aims to engage staff working within the aged care sector in Australia with skills and knowledge to work effectively with diverse older people, their families, carers and advocates. It involves a range of topics relevant to culturally safe and inclusive practice, and is designed in response to topics requested from staff working in the aged care sector in Australia.
Visit this page, to read about and register for webinars from the 2022-23 Diversity Webinar series (July 2022 - June 2023).
John is an 83yo man, who migrated to Australia in 1965. John has a diagnosis of depression, which is being treated with medications. About 3 months ago John had a fall, which left him with a few bruises and damaged his self-confidence.
John’s daughter Pippa and her son Anthony live with John. After John’s fall, he noticed that he stopped receiving any mail. John asked Pippa if she had noticed anything about the missing mail. Pippa assures John that when the mail is delivered to the mailbox, she makes sure to collect and open all her father’s mail so he won’t have to trouble himself about it. She also tells John that she handles any bills promptly. This makes John uneasy and he feels he’s still capable of dealing with his own mail. However, since he has become more dependent on Pippa for assistance and support, John is too fearful to confront her.
John begins to think that he has no control over his life and this makes him sad.
Regardless of age, older people have the same right to participate fully in various aspects of life. Sometimes older people might need assistance and support from families and relatives to do this, however everyone has the right to make their own decisions, while they have capacity.
After John’s fall, Pippa might have thought that she was helping her father. However, she didn’t check-in with him about his mail and whether he needed help with it.
John is now feeling devalued and he has become more unhappy. He might even have a sense of isolation. Simple actions can cause psychological and emotional distress.
*Personal details have been changed to protect our client’s privacy.