Monday 15 June was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the internationally recognised day to focus public attention on the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue.
Elder abuse is a form of family violence and is often perpetrated by a family member or carer and can often go unnoticed. The abuse may be psychological, physical, social, financial or sexual and can include mistreatment and neglect. The World Health Organisation describes elder abuse as a violation of human rights and a significant cause of illness, loss of productivity, isolation and despair. (WHO 2002 Active Ageing Policy Framework). As such, it is an issue that affects not only the person who is impacted directly but also the broader community.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges and an increased level of risk for those experiencing family violence. This includes concerns there could be more cases of elder abuse in the community as older people are some of the most isolated groups in society during the pandemic. This is why it’s important to know and familiarise yourself with the signs of elder abuse. The Seniors Rights Victoria website and the Monash Health Family Violence Clinical Guideline have some good information on the signs of elder abuse and further details on the process of responding to suspected elder abuse.
If you aren’t sure what to do, secondary consultations are available – contact Monash Health’s Elder Abuse Liaison Officer, Selina Nivelle.
On Monday 15 June, we held an online event for our employees to increase their understanding of how to recognise and respond to potential cases of elder abuse and to help provide them with a better understanding of changes to guardianship laws and how they support the human rights of older people.
Missed the event or concerned about an older person:
- Download Brendan Klimek, Senior Advocate Guardian at the Office of the Public Advocate presentation on important changes to Guardianship laws.
- Office of the Public Advocate, information about medical decisions, including a downloadable medical consent flowchart.
- Office of the Public Advocate, the role of a guardian
- Remember to read the Family Violence Clinical Guideline which can be downloaded from Prompt.
- Visit the elder abuse intranet page
- For further information regarding WEAAD, visit the Seniors Rights Victoria website.
- If you need further support, please contact our Elder Abuse Liaison Officer, Selina Nivelle on 0431 453 950 or email Selina.Nivelle@monashhealth.org
- Employees and other health professionals can access free Level 1 training in Elder Abuse run by the Bouverie Centre.
- Visit www2.health.vic.gov.au for details on the integrated model of care for responding to suspected elder abuse.
Approved by Katrina Nankervis, Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Executive Director Residential Care and Support Services