Tag Archive: elder abuse

  1. Launching Safe, Valued, Respected – A Primary Prevention Framework for Elder Abuse

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    Earlier this week, Eastern Community Legal Centre (ECLC) welcomed a number of special guests and over 100 registrants to the launch of Safe, Valued, Respected – A Primary Prevention Framework for Elder Abuse. Due to COVID restrictions, the event was held online.

    ECLC CEO, Michael Smith, welcomed attendees and acknowledged the growing recognition from government and community partners around the importance of understanding, preventing and responding to abuse directed to older people in the community.

    “Safe, valued and respected. So easy to say, but still such a challenge to achieve in some parts of our community. Safety is only a first step, we have a broader vision – value and respect. We want to see the contributions of older people celebrated and an end to ageism.”

    The Victorian Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Chair of the Victorian Elder Abuse and Safeguarding Advisory Group, Anthony Carbines MP, was the guest speaker for the launch. He spoke about the importance of this issue for him personally and for the Victorian Government.

    Earlier this month, we observed World Elder Abuse Awareness Day to focus public attention on the significant impacts of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue. Events like today help us continue shining a light on these important issues.”

    The Australian Attorney-General The Hon Senator Michaelia Cash sent a video message congratulating Eastern Community Legal Centre on the launch of their primary prevention framework and spoke about the Federal Government’s work in the area of elder abuse.

    “Elder abuse is a complex health and social problem that can have devastating physical, emotional and social consequences for older people, their families and their communities. The Federal Government is committed to preventing and responding to elder abuse.”

    Other highlights included (videos below):

    Videos from the event are below. Please visit www.eclc.org.au/elderabuse for more information on this important work and how we can all play a meaningful role in ensuring everyone is safe, valued and respected throughout their lives.

    Thank you to everyone who attended and made it such a successful event with great discussions and a strong commitment to further work in the year ahead.

  2. Eastern CLC joins with community leaders to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2021

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    Earlier today, the Victorian Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, the Hon Luke Donnellan MP, and the Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Anthony Carbines MP, marked World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2021 alongside a range of experts, advocates and stakeholders.

    Elder abuse is any act that causes harm to an older person and is carried out by someone they trust, such as a family member or friend. The abuse may be physical, social, financial, psychological or sexual and can include mistreatment and neglect.

    Minister Donnellan talked about an additional $1 million in funding for initiatives that prevent and respond to elder abuse across Victoria and spoke movingly about his personal commitment to turning around increasing rates of abuse against older people.

    Parliamentary Secretary Carbines chaired a panel focused on the impact of COVID-19 on elder abuse in the community. The panel featured Commissioner for Senior Victorians, Gerard Mansour; National Ageing Research Institute Director, Briony Dow; Better Place Australia CEO, Serge Sardo; Southern Melbourne PCP Acting CEO, Michelle Lord; and Senior Rights Victoria Policy Officer, Melanie Joosten.

    Commissioner Mansour spoke about efforts by community groups to recover from COVID-19 and re-engage with their communities. Many of these local groups play an important role in community connection for older people.

    He also touched on themes from his landmark report, Ageing Well in a Changing World, around people feeling less valuable and more invisible as they age. He reminded us that stereotypes about older people can be harmful, such as mistaken beliefs around taking up technology such as Zoom. These beliefs contribute to ageism and we all have a role in challenging them.

    Briony Dow spoke about their research into the impact of COVID-19 on older people. They found significant increases in reported family violence and elder abuse following periods of lockdown. Accessing assistance during lockdowns was very difficult for people experiencing abuse. Increases in financial hardship, stress and adult children returning to live with their parents were all contributing factors for this.

    Serge Sardo spoke about COVID-19 as creating a ‘perfect storm’ for elder abuse due to the economic downturn, family stress, social isolation and restrictions on activities that contribute to health and wellbeing. Better Place saw an increase in all kinds of abuse during 2020 with demand exceeding their service capacity.

    Michelle Lord spoke about Victoria’s Elder Abuse Prevention Networks and the work they did during 2020 to integrate primary prevention approaches into a range of community settings. This presented challenges as many of their activities and networking events were face-to-face and had to be moved online.

    Melanie Joosten spoke about how Senior Rights Victoria moved to telehealth and remote working during 2020 and the change in people seeking help. They saw decreases in people seeking help during lockdowns with sharp increases once lockdowns were lifted. Evidence suggests that abuse continued during lockdowns, but getting help was harder due to either the presence of perpetrators or lack of community connections and referral opportunities.

    Following the panel, Eastern Community Legal Centre’s CEO, Michael Smith, was invited to present our Primary Prevention Framework as a leading example of work in this area.

    Michael Smith spoke about the work of the Eastern Elder Abuse Network to ensure community members in Melbourne’s East were safe, valued and respected at all ages and stages of their life.

    The launch of the Primary Prevention Framework and associated guide is an important development that will support organisations of all kinds to extend primary prevention to more community and service settings.

    People can find out more and register for the launch event from 2-3pm on 30 June.

    There were also presentations by Natasha Spicer from Frankston-Mornington Peninsula PCP, Dr Becky Nevin Berger from MPower and Michelle Lord showing there are many ways to create a community that is safe and welcoming for people of all ages.

    We will post the event video here when it becomes available.

  3. Safe, valued and respected across all ages

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    ECLC is launching a new tool for community services, groups and other organisations to better include community members of all ages and help prevent abuse.

    The Preventing Abuse of Older People Framework will be launched at the Victorian Government’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Breakfast on Tuesday 15 June. It is being highlighted as an example of the excellent work being done across the state.

    Our Eastern Region launch will be held online on Wednesday 30 June together with Eastern Elder Abuse Network members and other local partners. We are excited to have the Victorian Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Anthony Carbines MP, as our guest. Please RSVP here.

    The Framework asks all of us to imagine what a world without ageism looks like and how we can all do more to include and respect people of all ages.

    ECLC’s Elder Abuse Prevention Coordinator, Jill Exon, said, “We are working with our partners to help create a world where everyone is safe, respected and where their contributions to our community are valued.”

    Listen to Jill speaking about ageism and ECLC’s work to prevent abuse against older people in the podcast about Ending elder abuse – A primary prevention approach.

    Please RSVP to attend the launch of the Preventing Abuse of Older People Framework or find out more about ECLC’s work in preventing and responding to elder abuse.

    ECLC is a founding member of the Eastern Elder Abuse Network, along with over 50 health, community and other local organisations.

    Did you know that 15 June is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day?

    This significant day is proclaimed by the United Nations to promote respect for older people in our community.

    Elder abuse is any act which causes harm to an older person and is carried out by someone they know and trust, such as a family member or friend. The abuse may be physical, social, financial, psychological or sexual and can include mistreatment and neglect.

    How to get help

    If you live in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne and you or someone you know is experiencing or at risk of elder abuse, then please call ECLC on 1300 32 52 00.

    You can also find out more by calling the national help line 1800ELDERHelp (1800 353 374) or by going to Compass – the national website that connects people to services and information tackling elder abuse.

  4. Keeping older people safe, valued, and respected

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    The Eastern Elder Abuse Network (EEAN) recently held its first meeting for the year to continue achieving it vision of ‘A world where older people are safe, valued and respected’ in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne and beyond.

    The meeting had a full agenda to tackle this rising social issue, not just locally but around the nation and the world.

    Guest speaker, Bev Lange, Executive Officer from Elder Abuse Action Australia (EAAA) highlighted EAAA’s online national elder abuse knowledge hub, COMPASS which raises awareness of elder abuse and simplifies the process of connecting people to services and information tackling elder abuse across Australia.

    ECLC presented the Preventing Abuse of Older People – A Primary Prevention Framework with EEAN members. Developed with the EEAN Primary Prevention Working Group, the Framework is a primary prevention roadmap to address and prevent the abuse of older people. The Framework is expected to be released in June 2021.

    ECLC’s Managing Lawyer of Elder Abuse Shahaan Murray gave an overview of the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

    “Implementing the recommendations from the commission is going to be key – this is just the start of the process,” said Shahaan.

    While there are 148 recommendations, Shahaan said the commissioners didn’t agree on all recommendations, particularly regarding the structure of a more independent model vs government involvement model.

    There are also different recommendations about how to implement and fund the recommendations. A levy has been flagged.

    The recommendations don’t give enough power for enforcing and monitoring and they lack coherence about the over-arching model proposed.

    Shahaan also reflected on the recently released World Health Organization Global Report on Ageism and said it is an interesting and significant report.

    “However, it fails to look into ageism as a potential driver of elder abuse,” said Shahaan.

    “Nonetheless, it raises some really key points around the work that can address ageism such as intergenerational work and legislative frameworks,” said Shahaan.

    Check out the World Health Organization Global Report on Ageism and the Global campaign to combat ageism toolkit.

    Established in 2010, EEAN now has more than 150 people representing about 50 member organisations from a wide range of sectors: local, state and federal governments, community health, legal services, police, aged care, hospital, women’s health, primary care partnerships, family violence, finance, ethno-specific and multicultural agencies, and other specialist services.

    EEAN meeting timetable 2021

    EEAN membership meetings are held twice a year.

    The next membership meeting will be held on Wednesday 15 September.

    Three working groups meet quarterly:

    1. Primary prevention – stopping elder abuse before it occurs
    2. Communication – developing consistent and shared key messages
    3. Response – establishing effective referral pathways and processes.

    Check out the EEAN timetable.

    If you would like to find out more about EEAN, or you are interested in joining a working group, then please email: Jill Exon or call (03) 9957 2427.

    Together we can stop elder abuse

    Elder abuse is any act which causes harm to an older person and is carried out by someone known and trusted. Often, elder abuse is perpetrated by someone considered to be a family member and is a form of family violence. However, it is not limited to occurring within the family unit and can also be perpetrated by a carer, friend or neighbour, who the older person is dependent upon.

  5. It is time to say no to ageism

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    “Age is one of the first things we notice about people. Ageism arises when age is used to categorize and divide people in ways that lead to harm, disadvantage and injustice and erode solidarity across generations.”


    “We can create a world for all ages.”

    Global report on ageism – 18 March 2021


    The Global report on ageism just released by the World Health Organization outlines how to combat ageism to improve health, increase opportunities, reduce costs and enable people to flourish at any age.

    It says together we can create a world for all ages if governments, UN agencies, development organisations, civil society organisations and academic and research institutions implement strategies that are effective and invest in further research, and if individuals and communities join the movement and challenge every instance of ageism.

    The report makes three recommendations to reduce ageism. They are to:

    • Invest in evidence-based strategies to prevent and tackle ageism.
    • Improve data and research to gain a better understanding of ageism and how to reduce it.
    • Build a movement to change the narrative around age and ageing.

    ECLC is tackling ageism though its OPERA project which promotes that older people in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne feel valued and respected in the community by challenging some of the harmful beliefs and attitudes that can lead to discrimination on the basis of age.

    Videos challenge age discrimination with stories of empowered, resilient and active older people living in Melbourne’s east who shared their personal stories to demonstrate how they enjoy happy, independent and meaningful lifestyles as they age.

    These stories are to be shared: to bring awareness, to educate and to inspire everyone to embrace the journey of ageing and to plan for an active and empowered older life.

    Read the Global report on ageism executive summary.
    Read the Global report on ageism full report.

  6. Health Justice Partnership supporting older people at risk

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    Since opening its doors in 2019, ELSA (Engaging & Living Safely & Autonomously) a Health Justice Partnership between ECLC and Eastern Health has delivered critical services and supported 30 older people who were experiencing or at risk of elder abuse and who needed help.

    ELSA has provided this support through its legal and financial counselling services which are embedded into the health service to help identify and quickly respond to older people with increased vulnerability who are experiencing or at risk of elder abuse.

    From October 2019 to January 2021, the ELSA team has:

    • Held 90 client sessions (an average of 3 sessions and 2 hours per client).
    • Supported 83 health workers, 5 family/friends and 3 other professionals with a patient, family member or friend experiencing or at risk of elder abuse.
    • Held 16 online (via zoom video) sessions and educated more than 200 health workers. These sessions focused on Financial Counselling, and Wills & Powers of Attorney. All participants said their understanding of the topics had increased and that they felt better able to inform their clients.

    Financial and psychological abuse are the key reasons older people contact ELSA for help including:

    • Theft (27%)
    • Taking control of bank accounts and/or assets, including real estate (27%)
    • Psychological intimidation (20%).

    ELSA delivers services to older patients (inpatients and outpatients) across all Eastern Health sites by phone, video conference and, if safe and most appropriate for patients’ needs, in person.

    “Don’t let it go by the wayside. Many people don’t really understand that it is abuse. There is help. It is very sad that there is a lack of awareness from many older people and a majority of people are scared to say anything.”

    ELSA client

    Older patients can access the ELSA service by speaking to an Eastern Health worker, by calling 0429 697 960 or by emailing ELSA.


    ECLC’s Managing Lawyer – Elder Abuse Shahaan Murray (above left) said the kinds of elder abuse ELSA is seeing happens behind closed doors.

    “Sadly, the abuse we are seeing is mostly intentional and caused by known and trusted family members and friends.

    “As well as trying to help older people who are vulnerable and experiencing or at risk of elder abuse, we must educate and change community views of older people.

    “All older people deserve to live their lives independently, safely, and peacefully,” said Shahaan.


  7. EVENT: Chinese Family Day – respecting elders

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    Join us for a Family Day about respecting elders and treating them with dignity. There will be speeches from a variety of services, providing information and helpful strategies on how to treat our elders respectfully. Family members of all ages are encouraged to attend!

    Date:           Saturday 14 April 2018

    Time:           9.30am – 1.30pm

    Venue:         Box Hill Town Hall, 1022 Whitehorse Rd, Box Hill – in the Boyland Room & Visual Art Room

    Language:   Mandarin and Cantonese (with interpreters)

    Morning Tea provided

    Booking essential – please contact Chinese Community Social Services Centre on (03) 9898 1965.

    Download the flyer (.PDF)

    This event is supported by Eastern Community Legal Centre, Chinese Community Social Services Centre Inc., the Victorian Multicultural Commission and the Victorian Government.

  8. ECLC funded for elder abuse prevention work

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    ECLC has been funded by the Department of Health and Human Services to expand its vital elder abuse prevention work through the recent Elder Abuse Prevention Network funding round.

    ECLC has been leading the highly successful Eastern Elder Abuse Network since 2008 (with limited resources in partnership with Seniors Rights Victoria) and the new funding directly recognises the importance and value of such networks, as recognised by the Royal Commission
    into Family Violence.

    Although ECLC has been granted the funding, CEO Michael Smith emphasised the crucial importance of a partnership approach.

    “The many health, community, government and other agencies in the East have been working together for many years now to elder abuse in the community through the EEAN. Regrettably, the disgraceful and insidious abuse of seniors remains a major issue and the partners also
    collaborate very closely in responding to those in need.” he said.

    “ECLC particularly appreciates the active support of many partners in the application for this funding, emphasising the strong and multi-layered partnerships we share.”

    ECLC looks forward to implementing the activities under this funding over the next year.

  9. EVENT: Respect Your Elders Indian Family Day and Community Forum

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    Join us for a Family Day about respecting elders and treating them with dignity.

    There will be representatives from a variety of services such as Victoria Police, Sheriff’s Office, Department of Human Services (DHS), Family Mediation Centre, Carers Victoria and much more!

    They will be providing information and helpful strategies on how to treat our elders respectfully.

    Saturday 11 November 2017

    10am – 2pm

    Room 1, 45 Miller Crescent, Mount Waverley 3149


    Family members of all ages are encouraged to attend.

    Lunch and children play area provided.

    Register here.

    Download the flyer.

    This event is presented in partnership with IndianCare, Indian Senior Citizens Association Victoria, Victorian Multicultural Commission, Victoria State Government and Eastern Community Legal Centre.