Elder Abuse

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Elder Abuse Response Trial Evaluation


In 2019, the Commonwealth Government funded a series of Elder Abuse Service Trials under the National Plan to Respond to the Abuse of Older Australians 2019-2023. As a recipient, Eastern Community Legal Centre (ECLC) established two Elder Abuse Response Programs with partners Eastern Health and Oonah Belonging Place, both using an integrated practice model combining lawyers and other community service professionals including advocates and financial counsellors.

ECLC commissioned an independent evaluation of these programs through RMIT University and the National Ageing Research Institute. The recent Mid-term Evaluation looked at the effectiveness and efficiency of the response programs in their first two years.

It found that the programs were implemented successfully, were “highly valued by both clients and professional stakeholders” and resulted in “clients overwhelmingly reporting their needs had been met” despite being rolled out in the midst of COVID-19 and ongoing lockdowns in Victoria.

A summary – Elder Abuse Response Trial – the first two years – has also been developed that provides an overview of the Elder Abuse Response Programs and key lessons learned from the mid-term evaluation. It also demonstrates the value of integrated practice in the elder abuse context.

Elder Abuse Response Services

Everybody has the right to feel safe, to be treated with dignity and respect, and to make their own decisions. Some older people are denied these rights, often by the people who are closest to them.

ECLC’s Elder Abuse Response Services, ROSE (Rights of Seniors in the East) and ELSA (Engaging & Living Safely & Autonomously), provide free and confidential legal advice and assistance to older people experiencing or at risk of elder abuse. ROSE, a partnership with Oonah Belonging Place, provides assistance to older people across the eastern metropolitan region while ELSA, a partnership with Eastern Health, is dedicated to supporting older people receiving care at Eastern Health.

Elder abuse often occurs in complex and highly distressing circumstances. The abuse can be financial, psychological, emotional, physical or sexual. It can also involve deliberate social isolation or neglect.

ECLC identifies the key legal, financial and social challenges faced by an older person and provides them with options for addressing the abuse and improving their safety and well being.

ECLC helps older people with abuse concerns on matters such as:

  • Family Violence
  • Breach and revocation of Powers of Attorney
  • Guardianship
  • Grand parenting rights
  • Guarantor issues
  • Access to welfare
  • Theft
  • Misappropriation of funds or property
  • Infringements
  • Undue influence
  • Support at VCAT and VOCAT hearings
  • Wills – contesting only.

ECLC also provides assistance and referrals for broader issues such as housing, health and aged care, and financial assistance.

If you require support or advice in relation to elder abuse, please phone ECLC on  1300 32 52 00 (1300 ECLC 00) or 0429 697 960.

ECLC acknowledges the funding support of the Australian Government for the ROSE and ELSA programs.

Elder Abuse Prevention

ECLC is working with its partners to help create a world where everyone is safe, respected and where their contributions to our community are valued. These partnerships have led to a tool for community services, groups and other organisations to better include community members of all ages and help prevent abuse.

Developed by ECLC and the Eastern Elder Abuse Network (EEAN), this tool called Preventing Abuse of Older People Framework, was launched at the Victorian Government’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Breakfast on Tuesday 15 June 2021.

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.

A guide provides some background and other relevant information to help people use and understand the Framework. It also emphasises the important role everyone can play to achieve the shared vision of ‘A world where people are safe, valued and respected.’

Download a copy of the guide here.

Download a copy of the framework here.

OPERA – COVID-19 edition

For many older people, isolation from family and friends can take a toll on their physical and mental wellbeing, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, older people were encouraged to isolate themselves from social interaction. We spoke to some active older Australians about the impact of COVID-19 and how they took care themselves and others during the lockdown.

The following videos illustrate that the power of older people’s creativity, caring and community spirit was on full display even during the peak of restrictions: Marilyn, Lynda, Lesley, and Aunty Janet

Eastern Elder Abuse Network

Eastern Elder Abuse Network (EEAN) was established in 2010 and has since grown to a membership of over 150 people. This includes broad representation from over 50 member organisations, some including: Local Government, Community Health, Legal Services, Police, Aged Care, Hospital, Women’s Health, Primary Care Partnerships, State and Government Departments, Family Violence, Finance, Ethno-specific and Multicultural Agencies, and other specialist services/organisations.

Over time, the Network has grown and evolved with strong support and expertise of partner organisations. In late 2019, the EEAN was restructured to provide a more strategic approach working across the spectrum of primary prevention, early intervention and response. While the whole of EEAN will continue to meet biannually, members are invited to participate in a working group/s most relevant to organisational priorities and key interests.

To find out more about the EEAN restructure including information about meeting dates, purpose and key activities, click EEAN 2020 Meetings.

If you would like more information, or are interested in joining a working group, please email: Jill Exon, Elder Abuse Prevention Coordinator, or phone her on 1300 32 52 00 (1300 ECLC 00).

ECLC acknowledges the funding support of the Victorian Government of the EEAN.

Subscribe to EEAN’s news

Information for GPs

ECLC’s Behind the Curtain video raises awareness of elder abuse among GPs in the Eastern Metropolitan Region and provides medical professionals and their patients with information and links to support services.

ECLC launched Behind the Curtain in 2015. The video is funded by Melbourne East GP Network.

Further information for GPs:

  • Search “elder abuse” on the Health.Vic website to locate a range of resources for health professionals produced by the Victorian Government.
  • See Chapter 10 of the RACGP White Book which provides information about identifying and responding to elder abuse, as well as information on who is best to contact once suspicion of abuse is confirmed.
  • Visit the comprehensive Elder Abuse section of HealthPathways Melbourne, using your allocated log-in and password details. If you don’t have login details, email info@healthpathwaysmelbourne.org.au to obtain them.
  • Seniors On Line provides written information, including help sheets and a safety plan for older Victorians.

Patient Support

Community Education

ECLC delivers Matter of Trust workshops to culturally and linguistically diverse communities across the EMR. Each workshop is designed and delivered in collaboration with cultural advisors from key partner organisations, particularly from the Indian, Greek and Chinese communities.

Participants engage in a group story-building activity, creating fictional narratives that explore situations where a person may be at risk financial elder abuse, such as:

  • Agreeing to act as a guarantor for family members’ loans/debts
  • Selling assets to live with adult children and their families
  • Lack of financial independence for older people sponsored by their children to live in Australia

Representatives from key Community Services attend workshops to provide information in response to the group story, which illustrates the collaborative approach required to address elder abuse.

If you would like to arrange a workshop for your community group or participate as a Community Service, please contact ECLC.

Law Reform

ECLC advocates on issues affecting older people by calling for significant and urgent law reform.

To access submissions, please visit the Law Reform & Policy page.


Fact Sheets



Download PDF of the above graphics.



Page updated July 26, 2022
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