Crime Stoppers Victoria has released a four-episode podcast series on the increase1 in elder abuse within the community.
The podcast series ‘Elder Abuse – Prevention and Protection’ enlists the expertise of Seniors Rights Victoria, Victoria Police, the Office of the Public Advocate and the Law Institute of Victoria to delve into an issue that often remains behind closed doors.
Crime Stoppers Victoria Chief Executive Stella Smith says the podcast series explores the forms of elder abuse that are taking place within our community and how everyone can play a part in addressing this issue. Elder abuse takes many forms including psychological abuse, physical abuse, financial abuse and neglect.
“Elder abuse is an issue that may be taking place in the households of those who are close to us. Often the victims are reluctant to raise these matters due to fear, embarrassment, or dependence. We need to pay attention to the senior members of our community and let them know we are here for them.”
“There are a number of services that they can turn to for support to ensure they are not being unfairly influenced by others who are acting in self-interest.”
“We would like to thank Seniors Rights Victoria, Victoria Police, the Office of the Public Advocate and the Law Institute of Victoria for participating in this important discussion.”
Episode 1 features Melanie Joosten, Policy Officer at Seniors Rights Victoria who provides an overview of elder abuse and its impact within the community.
Melanie encourages us to ensure the older person is a part of any decision-making process that involves them and to be mindful of ageist behaviour.
‘We should always be checking in to make sure the older person is a willing participant in whatever is happening.”
“It’s always good for us to each check our internal ageism and perhaps how we treat the older people in our lives.”
In episode 2, Senior Sergeant Alasdair Gall and Detective Senior Sergeant Matthew Russell of the Victoria Police’s Family Violence Command join the podcast to discuss the issue and in particular, the Victoria Police financial elder abuse trial program that is currently underway across parts of Victoria. It involves police working with community organisations to identify and respond to the financial exploitation of older people
The discussion centres on financial abuse and outlines the importance of welfare checks on senior people to identify and address suspicious behaviour towards them.
‘A lot of referrals come to us from health care networks…we find agency to agency (communication) can resolve a lot of situations and the police can act as a sounding board.” Senior Sergeant Gall said.
Episode 3 explores power of attorney and guardianship arrangements, with Dr John Chesterman, Acting Public Advocate of the Office of the Public Advocate joining the discussion.
In terms of differentiating between when to seek advice from Victoria Police, the Office of the Public Advocate and Seniors Rights Victoria, Dr Chesterman provides a handy guide:
“Where there is suspicion of a crime occurring, Victoria Police is the place to go. When you have a situation where a person may not have the capacity to make decisions, that is an area of our speciality (the Office of the Public Advocate). Where the person themselves may often be able to make their decisions but might require some assistance with talking through a matter, Seniors Rights Victoria is probably the right avenue.”
Episode 4 looks at the legal avenues available in the event of elder abuse, with Kathy Wilson of Kathy Wilson Legal and the Law Institute of Victoria. The discussion also highlights the importance of a power of attorney to protect your future.
“It’ s important to have powers of attorney in place. Always appoint two people. You can appoint three and then a majority can sign, or one can sign. But someone else has got the power to step in and say something or do something – that is really important.”
Where to Listen
The podcast is available at the following link on the Crime Stoppers Victoria website: https://www.crimestoppersvic.com.au/crime-stoppers-victoria-podcast-series/
It is also available on all podcast playing services, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.