Brenda* is a 68-year-old mother of four and grandmother of nine. She had previously divorced her husband and, since her children moved out, been living alone in her large family home.
She lent $400,000 to her youngest son Grant to buy a property, with a verbal agreement he would build a house and granny flat for her to live in. She was eventually forced to live in a tent and caravan park while the granny flat was being finished.
Once it was finished, Brenda lived there for some years before the relationship with Grant deteriorated to the point she was not allowed to see her grandchildren alone. Grant’s angry outbursts increased and included verbal abuse and property damage.
Brenda left the property and found safe accommodation through a family violence service. Grant refused to pay back her loan and she struggled to make ends meet.
Things changed when Brenda was referred to ECLC’s ROSE program by her family violence service. ROSE provided a community lawyer, elder abuse advocate and financial counsellor who worked together to understand her situation and give her the information she needed to make informed choices about her future.
This integrated team approach meant Brenda had access to the different professionals she needed without navigating multiple services and repeating her story time and time again to services that did not have the necessary shared expertise to assist her.
The result was positive for Brenda on a number of levels. She gained the support she needed to be empowered to safely pursue her legal options in seeking safety from the abuse of her son. She had professional legal and financial advice to give her confidence and support her in planning for her future. Through the interventions of the ROSE team, Grant agreed to a weekly repayment plan and also repaid parts of the loan through lump sums.
* Name changed for privacy