Page updated March 3, 2017

Age Discrimination Commissioner leveraging local expertise for national Elder Abuse inquiry

February 8, 2017

Age Discrimination Commissioner The Hon Dr Kay Patterson AO has ramped up consultation with the Eastern Elder Abuse Network (EEAN) to leverage local expertise into a stronger national approach to elder abuse.

The Commissioner met with the EEAN in Box Hill on February 7 to develop further responses to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Elder Abuse Inquiry, which recently released its first Discussion Paper.

The EEAN, convened by ECLC, brings together over 100 workers from 50 organisations across the Eastern Metropolitan Region, including police, aged care workers, legal professionals and community representatives.

“Elder abuse is a complex and pervasive issue that requires a whole-of-system response. Without one, we’re failing to acknowledge just how badly this affects older Australians and what we can do about it at local and national levels,” said ECLC CEO Michael Smith.

Collectively, the EEAN have identified key areas of concern, including problems with current Enduring Powers of Attorney arrangements, social security for older people and the lack of standardised reporting protocols for people who work with vulnerable older Australians.

“By engaging a diverse range of professionals, the EEAN is able to recommend strategies that protect the rights of older Australians in all aspects of their lives. We’re excited to be working with the Commissioner to advocate for a better, more coordinated response to elder abuse,” said ECLC’s Elder Abuse Prevention Coordinator, Kaz Mackay.

While visiting ECLC, Commissioner Patterson also met with ECLC’s Community Advisers from the Greek and Indian communities from its Matter of Trust project (pictured above). Matter of Trust works closely with key communities from culturally diverse backgrounds to prevent elder abuse in partnership with Communities’ Council on Ethnic Issues and other local agencies.

In 2015-16, 38% of ECLC’s legal work related to family violence, which included a large number of elder abuse matters. Nationally, about 6% of older Australians, or 188,000 people, are affected by elder abuse.

ECLC and EEAN are making a full submission and continue to work closely with the Commissioner.

The Final Report is expected in May 2017.

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