Funding to protect the rights of the elderly extended till 2026

The Federal Government has confirmed its commitment to ongoing funding to support elder abuse initiatives in Australia.


Senator Michaelia Cash, Attorney General of Australia said, “The funding announced will expand upon the success of a range of initiatives commenced under the National Plan, including $18.4 million over 3 years to extend specialist elder abuse support services (and $6.0 million in 2025-26).”


“This announcement provides funding certainty for these important services, ensuring that specialist staff can continue to provide practical support to older Australians at risk of, or experiencing, abuse,” she added.


The funding will go towards programs such as Eastern Community Legal Centre’s (ECLC) ELSA partnership with Eastern Health which provides legal, financial counselling and social work support to older people experiencing or at risk of abuse within Eastern Health hospitals and health services throughout the eastern suburbs and Yarra Valley.


The funding will also benefit ECLC’s ROSE specialist elder abuse team after successful ‘Service Trials’ of these innovative integrated services/Health Justice Partnership models across Australia.


ECLC’s CEO Michael Smith said, “We know the tragic and devastating impact of elder abuse on community members who should be celebrated and respected. As this work grows, we are sadly uncovering its breadth and depth.”


This short video illustrates how the ELSA partnership has been a particularly effective approach, including a brave victim-survivor sharing her story.


The key element of the ELSA partnership is the full integration of ECLC’s multidisciplinary team of advocates/social workers, community lawyers and financial counsellors through Eastern Health’s hospitals and specialist services.


This has changed the way public health services deal with abuse and suspected abuse in our area. Every month, where hospital staff team identifies people experiencing abuse, ELSA provides confidential assistance in order for them to escape violent situations and recover their quality of life after the abuse has ended.


Age Discrimination Commissioner, Dr. Kay Patterson AO, has also looked closely at the ELSA program and wanted the partners to share this message.


Abuse of older people is an insidious and growing problem as the population ages. It can involve physical, psychological, financial and sexual abuse and, most disturbingly, usually is usually committed by the adult children of frail, older parents.


The most prevalent forms of abuse encountered in the first two years of ELSA and ROSE include psychological intimidation; deprivation of assets or property; theft of money and possessions; physical assault/abuse; deprivation of basic necessities including food; and abuses of Powers of Attorney.


21 December 2021