Meals on Wheels workers, local chemists and seniors clubs will be asked to join the grassroots fight against elder abuse as part of the Andrews Labor Government’s plan to overhaul Victoria’s family violence system.
Council home carers, community organisations and health centres, men’s sheds and health workers will be among the participants of a program to mobilise the power of locals to help older victims, deter perpetrators and identify the signs of abuse.
Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Fiona Richardson, has announced the Labor Government will immediately invest $200,000 in 12 months’ startup funding to help more local service providers and community groups prevent elder abuse.
The program will roll out in five communities in Melbourne, and regional and rural Victoria with the support of Seniors Rights Victoria.
Up to one in 20 older Victorians might be a victim of family violence – not just physical, but often in the form of financial exploitation or psychological and emotional abuse at the hands of their children.
The program will also begin establishing links between different local groups so the whole community can help reduce elder abuse by learning how to refer victims so they can get the help they need.
This work helps the Government implement recommendation 139 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. It comes on top of $1 million provided in the Victorian Budget 2016/17 to help prevent elder abuse.
Seniors Rights Victoria is a member of the Family Violence Steering Committee that will help the Labor Government reshape a new family violence system that puts victims at the centre of our reforms and makes perpetrators accountable for their behaviour.
Quotes attributable to Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Fiona Richardson
“Our older Victorians can feel too afraid and powerless to get help, especially if their abuser is their child and they feel a sense of parental obligation and love.’’
“We want to take prevention to where older Victorians meet and to the people who interact with them the most. We want them to know they will be supported and understood, and that help is at hand.’’
Quotes attributable to Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley
“Victims of family violence might not call a crisis line, but they might confide in someone from their local community.”
“Our senior Victorians are vulnerable to family violence. The best way to reduce abuse is to prevent it happening in the first place. Grassroots action will help local communities help our older members.”