When the Seniors Rights Service released its report Abuse of Older People: A Community Response  in June, it made eight comprehensive, multi-faceted recommendations to government based on input from more than 50 community organisations.

Most importantly the report strongly reiterates the end-of-conference statement from the 5th National Elder Abuse Conference earlier this year, which called on all governments to address the issue – saying “there is no excuse not to act nationally NOW”. This is especially true since the conference and the new report follow the groundwork of the Australian Law Reform Commission’s 2017 report which outlined the changes to legal framework that would enable better protection of elders.  And that’s not to mention a slew of indepth media reports on abuse in aged care homes plus loud and long calls by stakeholders in  elder care for the government to regulate ratios of nurses and carers to residents. Government inquiries and reports seem to have been ongoing for at least a decade – focusing on quality of residential aged care, financial practices of providers, the future of the sector’s workforce and regulations, procedures and accreditation for providers. All this information … needs to be acted upon!

The NSW Government made a start in its June 2018-19 Budget when Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet MP, announced its substantial financial support for the Elder Abuse Helpline (see separate NSW Budget story).

Meanwhile, the Seniors Rights Service (SRS) is a community legal centre and font of information for elders, offering guidance in many forms – from phone advice to many online resources such as brochures, fact sheets and publications to insightful video discussions. Educational resources cover topics such as planning ahead, moving in with family and other accommodation choices, and of course guidance on navigating the aged care system. Groups can book the SRS for online sessions or face-to-face workshops on older people’s rights or on particular issues.  Please do let us know here at SCS on 9427 6425  if you like to attend one of the Seniors’ Rights Workshops and we will organise one locally if there is enough interest.

The SRS will advise on legal issues or more general rights plus the service will advocate on behalf of people who feel unable to make themselves heard … phone the SRS on 1800 424 079 or visit their site seniorsrightsservice.org.au

You can find the SRS report on elder abuse and its executive summary here 

The ALRC report on legal aspects is available at  https://bit.ly/2t3SnMO

See the World Health Organisation’s tips on how we all – not just families and carers – can play our part in respecting and protecting our elders – visit WHO

The NSW Elder Abuse Helpline is

1800 628 221