No. 22 August 2016
Only a month to go until winter is over - we hope you
are keeping warm! Read on for news of what happened on World Elder
Abuse Awareness Day 2016, how you can get involved in the ALRC's
Inquiry into elder abuse, our work around family violence reform, the Victoria
Police Seniors Portfolio Reference Group, and conferences. Please tell
your friends and colleagues about our e-news, and connect with us on
social media to stay up to date on elder abuse news.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD)
15 June 2016 was World
Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) – an annual day
designated by the United Nations to focus public attention on this
Seniors Rights Victoria appeared in the Herald Sun
newspaper and in an Elder
Abuse Talkback Forum with Jon Faine on 774 ABC
Seniors Rights Victoria also hosted an event for 90
people at Lander & Rogers law firm, where the Minister for the
Prevention of Family Violence, the Hon. Fiona Richardson MP, spoke
eloquently about the Government’s actions on elder abuse, and announced
funding for Seniors Rights Victoria to help more local
service providers and community groups prevent elder abuse.
Jennifer Evans, a long-time peer educator, then
presented one woman’s moving story of elder abuse, which was followed
by a community
education video developed with the Ethnic Communities
Council of Victoria.
Last, Freda Vrantsidis, of the National Ageing Research
Institute, launched the NARI/Seniors Rights Victoria report: ‘The
older person’s experience: outcomes of interventions into elder abuse’.
This is the only Australian study we know of that looks at elder abuse
from older peoples’ perspective. The report also contains
recommendations, formed from the advice of the courageous participants,
which will be of great use to both older people and policy-makers
Seniors Rights Victoria, helped by volunteers from our
parent body COTA Vic
also hosted an information table in the historic Block Arcade in
Collins st, Melbourne on 15 June 2016. We engaged with over 200 people,
handing out WEAAD themed helpsheets, bookmarks, magnets, ribbons,
posters and balloons, and having many important conversations about
WEAAD in the Community
Many events were held across Australia for WEAAD, including
a special WEAAD
conference in Adelaide: For more information about World
Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and to find out about some of
the many exciting activities that happened in Victoria, please visit
our WEAAD-specific website: http://elderabuseawarenessday.org.au.
There was a purple lunch in Kensington, purple lights in Mornington, a
film festival in Frankston, theatre in Hampton Park, window displays in
Castlemaine, knit, chat ‘n chew afternoon in Footscray and many more
workshops, forums and morning teas.
ALRC Inquiry into Elder Abuse – get involved
On 24 February 2016, at the 2016 National Elder Abuse
Conference hosted by Seniors Rights Victoria, the Attorney-General,
Senator the Hon George Brandis announced a new Inquiry for the Australian
Law Reform Commission (ALRC). The Inquiry, 'Protecting
the Rights of Older Australians from Abuse', will assist the Government
in identifying best practice laws and frameworks for protecting older
Australians while promoting respects for their rights. It follows the
Australian Institute of Family Studies' scoping
study of elder abuse in Australia.
The ALRC released an Elder Abuse Issues Paper on World
Elder Abuse Awareness Day (15 June) and is calling for submissions from
the public – due by
18 August 2016. Submissions don’t have to be long, and
can focus on just one issue. More information may be found here: www.alrc.gov.au/inquiries/elder-abuse.
There will be more opportunities to make submissions after
consultations and the release of a discussion paper in November. The
ALRC will release its final report in May 2017.
Pam Morton, Principal lawyer at Seniors Rights Victoria,
described the Inquiry as a “fantastic opportunity to highlight the
significant legal problems faced by people experiencing elder abuse,
and address urgently needed reforms". Seniors Rights
Victoria is making a submission, collaborating with other legal
organisations, and also facilitating the Older Person’s Legal Service
national submission. Topics covered will include inconsistent laws
relating to elder abuse across Australia, Centrelink issues, financial
and banking practices, deficiencies in the law relating to Powers of
Attorney and case studies.
Victoria Police Seniors Portfolio Reference
Image by Victoria Police.
Seniors Rights Victoria is one of thirteen community
stakeholders that sit on the Victoria Police Seniors Portfolio
Reference Group (Seniors PRG), one of eight portfolio reference groups
established under the Equality is Not the Same project. Victoria Police
is committed to recognising and maintaining the rights of the
individual, and treating all people with respect and dignity. The PRG
brings a stakeholder and community perspective to the review and
development of police policies, processes, and initiatives to enhance
interactions and engagement between Victoria Police and the Victorian
The PRG has agreed to a list of key priorities for work
over the coming year. These are:
• Elder abuse – building Victoria Police capability to
identify and respond to elder abuse
• Safety of Older people on the streets - as road users
and as pedestrians
• Working with Older Victorians to ensure that they are
not taken advantage of through door to door, telephone and online
The PRG recently developed a brochure – Victoria
Police: Working with Senior Victorians - after
identifying a gap in police resources specifically targeted to older
Victorians. The brochure contains high level information across a range
of issues that affect older Victorians: crime prevention, elder abuse
and being safe on the streets. The brochure will also be available as
an electronic factsheet translated into 15 languages.
The PRG has also recently provided feedback on an
internal police factsheet that will be used to raise awareness of elder
abuse, assisting police to understand its prevalence, recognise
signs and take appropriate action. The Seniors PRG meets quarterly,
with the next meeting schedule for 7 September 2016.
Elder abuse and family violence reform
Commission into Family Violence (RCFV) report has
comprehensively recognised elder abuse as a form of family violence and
elevated it as a concern. Jenny Blakey, Manager of Seniors Rights
Victoria, has been invited to sit on the central Family Violence
Steering Committee (FVSC), along with 25 others, to implement the
report. See the media
The FVSC will hold monthly meetings, after which a
public communique will be sent out. It will have standing committees to
work on designated areas and secretariat and other support from the
Department of Premier and Cabinet. The plan is to produce a 10 year
family violence plan for the Government by the end of 2016.
The FVSC is informed by a whole-of-government approach,
and co-design principles: consumers and service providers working
together to design better service delivery. An example of this will be the
Support and Safety Hubs throughout local communities in Victoria. The
RCFV recommendations will also all be looked at through the lens of
particular at-risk groups to ensure no one falls through the cracks –
such as seniors, women with disabilities and Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander peoples.
Violence Victoria has set up a Cross-sectoral Alliance
consisting of 18 peak bodies and service organisations to support the
RCFV implementation process.
Federation on Ageing (IFA) 13th Global Conference was
held in Brisbane from 21–23 June 2016. The program advanced IFA’s
agendas in age-friendly cities and communities, aged care, elder abuse
and income protection as well as focusing on disasters in an ageing
world. Freda Vrantsidis from the National
Ageing Research Institute (NARI) spoke on ‘Elder abuse
policy in Australia and how Victoria is putting policy into practice
through Seniors Rights Victoria’. This was a research project in
partnership with Seniors Rights Victoria to determine what are
important outcomes to older people experiencing abuse, what is
effective in achieving this outcome and what are the barriers. Her
presentation, and those of the other key speakers will soon be
available on the Conference website.
• Alzheimer’s Australia NSW’s inaugural Living
Well with Dementia Conference will be held on 22-23
August in Sydney. This is the first of its kind in Australia and will
provide strategies from leading experts to help people with dementia
and their carers live a good quality life.
• The Australian
Future of Aged Care Summit, Sydney, is from August 30 –
September 1. It will provide a unique platform for aged care
organisations to enhance their knowledge of the latest reforms,
developments, and initiatives in this evolving sector.
• The Aged and
Community Services Australia (ACSA) 2016 National Summit
(formerly the ACSA National Conference), in Hobart from 6-9 September,
will bring together the sector's best minds for a few days of inspiring
debate and conversation on the future of aged care in Australia.
• The Leading
Age Services Australia (LASA) Congress is from October
9-12 at the Gold Coast. This is Australasia’s biggest age services
event attracting industry leaders and key decision makers.