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.
Learn about the risk factors connected with elder abuse
Find out more about the warning signs connected to abuse
Learn about the people and supports you can turn to, things you can do, and resources you can access.
Find out what you can do, and the best ways to respond if you are concerned about someone else
Tilé Imo – Coordinating Senior Lawyer, Older Persons Advocacy and Legal Service at the Caxton Legal Centre Inc Tilé has been the Coordinating Senior Lawyer of the Older Persons Advocacy and Legal Service (OPALS) since August 2019. OPALS is Queensland’s first health justice partnership providing free legal and social work assistance to older people experiencing, or at risk of, elder abuse.
Sonia Colvin –Founder of Hairdressers with Hearts Sonia Colvin is the founder of Hairdressers with Hearts (HwH), a not-for-profit organisation that takes a proactive approach against domestic violence and elder abuse by harnessing the intimate and trusted relationship between Australia's 67,000 plus hairdressers and barbers and their clients. HwH believes that by empowering hairdressers and barbers with the correct resources and appropriate training they can make a difference in the lives of many Australians. Hairdressers and barbers are frontline in the community, reaching people on a grass roots level, having intimate conversations with clients walking through the door on a regular basis.
Sonia Di Mezza – CEO of Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services Sonia Di Mezza is the CEO of Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services, in Central Victoria. She previously worked as the Deputy CEO of the ACT Disability, Aged and Carers Advocacy Service (ADACAS) in Canberra, where she advocated for the rights of older people, predominately from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Sonia has managed human rights projects including a legal aid in Sudan and Pakistan for Afghan refugee widowed women. She worked as a Resettlement Officer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Lebanon, and for an Indian child rights NGO in Delhi. Sonia has worked as a refugee lawyer in Australian immigration detention centres. She is a solicitor and human rights lawyer, and speaks five languages.
Philippa McDonald – Philippa McDonald is a high profile, award winning journalist and communicator who has covered Australian and international news and current affairs. Her career has been built on breaking news and analysis on the biggest stories of our time. Philippa was part of the team who won a Walkley for the ABC’s Bushfire Coverage. She is a contributor to the book “Black Summer” and was also one of those responsible for the YouTube documentary “The Anatomy of a Mega Blaze.”. Philippa left the ABC in October. Since then she’s been co-producing films to tackle COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in Papua New Guinea, she’s been busy MCing, facilitating, hosting webinars, delivering keynotes addresses, media training and strategic communications.
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:
Seniors Rights Victoria's helpline receives around 275 calls per month
73% of older people who call are women
37% of calls were from an older person
35% of calls were from family of an older person
21% of calls were from a professional
9% of calls were from a friend of concerned other and
1% were 'other' or unknown
61% of calls related to elder abuse
39% of calls were unrelated to elder abuse
Most calls in both 2020 and 2021 were about emotional/ psychological abuse and/or financial abuse
36% of the instances of elder abuse were perpetrated by a son and 27% by a daughter
In the six-month period SRV gave 132 legal advice services and 131 non-legal advice services
In that time we worked on 39 legal cases ad 46 non-legal cases
76 cases were already open in the period
46 cases were closed
Many of the instances of elder abuse had been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Reasons ranged from social isolation, delays with VCAT and other service provisions, loss of income and loss of employment of the perpetrator
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
A year ago, George, who is 82 years old and lives alone in the family home, agreed that his son, Petro, could live with him. George has chronic arthritis and has limited mobility. This has become worse in the last 6 months and he is more reliant on Petro for support.
When Petro moved back home it was on the understanding that he would take care of his father and he obtained a Carer’s Allowance. In the last two months, Petro’s behaviour has become unstable and he’s neglecting the care of his father. Petro has stopped people visiting George, including service providers and other family members. When George’s daughter telephones the house, Petro answers the telephone and hangs up. George’s friends have stopped visiting because Petro is aggressive towards them.
As George has difficulty moving around, he’s unable to leave the house or shower, without assistance.
George was motivated to agree to his son moving in with him because of the support his son, Petro, would provide. However, Petro is neglecting George’s needs and is keeping others, who might be able to assist, away from George.
George’s health and wellbeing are a priority in this situation. Seniors Rights Victoria often has concerned family and others telephone to express worry for an older person, who is being socially abused in their own home. There are options to address these situations and talking to the Seniors Rights Victoria Helpline can provide information about how to assist an older person.
*Personal details have been changed to protect our client’s privacy.
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.