Case Study

Seniors Rights Victoria

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Seniors Rights Victoria

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Sector / issue analysis

Elder abuse, like any form of exploitation or violence, is a violation of a person’s fundamental human right to feel safe. It can have a range of devastating consequences for older people, including fear, emotional distress, financial hardship, physical harm and in extreme cases, death.

During 2017 and 2018, we undertook research to build understanding of the drivers of elder abuse and how to prevent it. The research focused on five “elder abuse prevention networks” supported by Seniors Rights Victoria and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.

The research found that age discrimination is the main driver in many cases of elder abuse. Gender inequality has also been identified as a major driver of elder abuse, with over 70 per cent of older people reporting elder abuse to Seniors Rights Victoria being women. Other drivers of elder abuse are perceived or real diminished capacity, isolation or lack of connection and the ongoing parent-child dynamic.

The elder abuse prevention networks brought together organisations and individuals from related disciplines within their local areas. One of the more effective roles for networks was delivering activities at the local level to engage the community (and particularly older people) in awareness-raising and education. The networks played a role in mobilising their communities to address age discrimination as the main driver of elder abuse. They were effective in providing professional development to organisations to better understand and play a role in preventing elder abuse.

The research report shares the community views about elder abuse and the experiences of the networks trying to prevent it to inform the work of organisations with an interest in working in their local area to prevent elder abuse and organisations working on family violence prevention.

Visit Seniors Rights Victoria for more information.

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