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LIV calls for more frontline services to prevent and reduce elder abuse in Victoria

LIV calls for more frontline services to prevent and reduce elder abuse in Victoria

By LIV Media

Advocacy Aged Persons Human Rights Wellbeing 


The Law Institute of Victoria has called for more funding to support frontline services to help prevent and reduce elder abuse in the Victorian community.

On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, held today, the LIV is supporting Seniors Rights Victoria - a specialist statewide service dedicated to addressing and preventing elder abuse.

The LIV believes significant funding should be directed to boosting existing critical frontline services with the resources and support they need to tackle elder abuse in our community, despite the investment that has been made into improving awareness and education and piloting new models within generalist services.

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

There are more than 1.25 million people over the age of 60 in Victoria – approximately 20 per cent of the Victorian population. This figure will increase as our population ages.

Following the Royal Commission into Family Violence and with increased awareness of elder abuse, Seniors Rights Victoria (a program of Council of the Ageing (COTA) Victoria) has experienced a 25 per cent increase in calls to its helpline service for support and assistance over the last 3 years. There are currently insufficient staff available to provide victims of abuse with the urgent support they need, and turnaround times to provide assistance are increasing.

Bill O’Shea, the chair of the Law Institute’s Elder Law Committee, said: “Older people in our community - our elderly parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends - are some of the most vulnerable people in our society. They need our support and protection.

“We’d like to see the Victorian government continue to back up its commitment to preventing elder abuse in our community and provide additional investment to Seniors Rights Victoria and fund more lawyers and skilled advocates to help make older people more aware of their rights,” Mr O’Shea said. “There is no doubt more money needs to be invested into funding additional frontline services for older people.

"The LIV also calls on the state government to show its commitment to combatting elder abuse and provide more funding for community legal centres to allow lawyers to help older people understand their legal rights and provide advice. An older person whose home has been wrongly transferred by an abuser needs a lawyer to help them get it back. Currently, there is insufficient funding for Community Legal Centres to provide this frontline legal support for victims of elder abuse" Mr O’Shea said.

Senior Rights Victoria is a program within COTA, which aims to empower and assist older people in our community. It is supported by the Victorian government.

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