ELSA – Engaging and Living Safely and Autonomously

ELSA (Engaging and Living Safely and Autonomously) is a Health Justice Partnership between Eastern Community Legal Centre (ECLC) and Eastern Health.

ELSA facilitates early identification and responses to older people with increased vulnerability, experiencing or at risk of elder abuse.

The World Health Organization defines elder abuse as a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person.

Elder abuse can be physical, financial, psychological or emotional, neglect or sexual. Abuse may include restricting access to a person’s money or family, verbal threats, pushing or inappropriately restraining someone, misusing a power of attorney, forcing a person to change their will or transfer their property to someone else.

Abuse can be deliberate or unintentional. It can occur once or several times.

ELSA is a multi-disciplinary team that offers:

  • legal advice and financial counselling information and support
  • strong referral pathways
  • ‘wrap-around’ support with inclusion of additional services
  • a trauma-informed and strengths-based approach to supporting older people to engage with legal processes

ELSA prioritises:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • older people from migrant, refugee or culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • older people with a disability
  • older people experiencing mental health issues
  • older people in rural or remote locations without access to local services

Health Justice Partnership

Health justice partnerships are collaborations to embed legal help in healthcare services and teams. Through the partnership with Eastern Health, ROSE seeks to:

  • overcome barriers that can make accessing services more difficult for some older people experiencing abuse
  • overcome siloed service provision to clients with complex need
  • support clients to overcome legal and financial issues undermining health and wellbeing
  • provide a service that is culturally safe, and flexible and responsive to the diverse needs of older people


ELSA utilises a co-case management model, providing support from a Community Lawyer and Financial Counsellor.

Community Lawyer

Legal advice on:

  • Family Violence
  • Breach and revocation of Powers of Attorney
  • Breakdown of Family Care Agreement
  • Guardianship
  • Grand parenting rights
  • Theft
  • Misappropriation of funds
  • Infringements
  • Undue influence
  • Wills – contesting

Financial Counsellor:

Advocacy and information on:

  • access to welfare
  • guarantor issues
  • personal debts


Find out how the ELSA team can help:

Meet the ELSA team and find out more

Click on the image below to watch video.

Nikki Harris-Allan ELSA

Access & Location

ELSA supports older* patients engaged with Eastern Health services. Older patients may acces the service by speaking to an Eastern Health worker or contacting ELSA directly by calling 0429 697 960 or emailing ELSA.

Please click here for ELSA Referrals.

ELSA is located at Peter James Centre, Wantirna Health, and Maroondah Hospital. Secondary consultations are available at all Eastern Health sites.

*50 years and over if identifies as a member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ (ATSI) Community or 65 years and over if not a member of the ATSI Community.

Page updated March 25, 2024
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