70% of elder abuse prevention specialists across Victoria are being defunded at a critical time of need

Here’s why the elder abuse prevention specialist services are important

These services provide a lifeline to many vulnerable older Victorians. Services such as the Integrated Model of Care (IMOC) have been critical to helping older Victorians navigate family conflict, neglect, or abuse from those they trust.

Recently, decision has been made by Victorian Government to defund 70% of specialist positions. Of 15 positions, only 5 remain.

Increased demand, no service, heightened risk

The client demand for elder abuse specialist prevention services has increased since the pandemic. The current waiting time of 4 to 6 weeks is expected to escalate to 10-12 weeks. The nature of abuse has also increased in gravity with a rise of 15% of physical assaults, an increase in non-fatal strangulation, and an increase in threats to kill towards the victim-survivor. 

Despite this, the Victorian Government is defunding 70% of elder abuse prevention specialists across Victoria, with only 5 positions are left to provide vital outreach support. IMOC will cease its support for older people as of August 2023. 

Why is IMOC important?

Elder abuse prevention specialists provide a response to support older people experiencing elder abuse. The service coordinates care and coordinates with other providers to ensure the safety of older people experiencing abuse. The service is a unique pathway through health services to a specialist family violence response. This service is not being replaced. 

Better Place Australia supports three of the five IMOC locations. Recently Elder Abuse Awareness Day saw a collaboration of Government, council and service providers come together to raise awareness of Elder Abuse, the sudden defunding of a critical elder abuse service seems contradictory.   

  • In 2022/23 financial year alone, we saw over 300 older Victorians
  • Client demand post-pandemic has increased. The nature of referrals has also increased in gravity
  • Better Place Australia IMOC service saw over 1200 clients in the past 5 years   

What do the funding cuts mean?

No funding means:  

  • Only 30% of family violence service locations are now able to provide the necessary specialist response (via Orange Doors)
  • Loss of elder abuse specialists means the enquiries are directed to a generalist service 
  • Waiting times escalating to 10 -12 weeks 
  • Vulnerable clients and those with significant risk (with a disability, those without technology access, or those living with their perpetrators) will face longer waiting times and greater risk of harm 

What do the IMOC elder abuse specialists do?

IMOC elder abuse specialists coordinate care with other providers to ensure the safety of older people experiencing abuse. This includes vital outreach care to support and advocate for older people.

Below, you can watch two videos with Better Place Australia (BPA) Family Consultant Specialist Catherine Hayden. She shares briefly on the important work BPA does to support older people, and a case study of an older person experiencing elder  abuse.

Advocacy video: The work we do to support older people experiencing elder abuse

Case Study video: Older person experiencing financial abuse

For referrers and enquiries about IMOC

For referrers and enquiries about the integrated model of care (IMOC) service ceasing mid-August 2023, Better Place Australia can provide Elder Abuse Specialist Services through Orange Doors in the following local government areas (LGA):

Banyule

Bass Coast

Baw Baw

Bayside

Colac Otway Shire

Darebin

Frankston

City of Greater Geelong

Glen Eira

 

Heidelberg

Hobsons Bay

Kingston

Latrobe Valley

Maribyrnong

Melbourne

Moonee Valley

Mornington Peninsula

Nilumbik

 

Port Philip

Borough of Queenscliff

South Gippsland

Stonnington

Surf Coast Shire

Whittlesea

Wyndham

Yarra

 

To enquire or refer, please contact Better Place Australia on 1800 214 117 or email to respectingelders@betterplace.com.au with your contact details.

For free information and referrals, legal advice and legal casework on matters specifically related to elder abuse please ring the Seniors Rights confidential helpline on 1300 368 821 or email info@seniorsrights.org.au or visit https://seniorsrights.org.au/get-help/

If it is an emergency, call 000

 

Here's what you can do

Help us change this.

1. Contact your local Federal Member of Parliament

2. Download the Support Letter to Minister Blandthorn

3. Share the campaign “Elder Abuse Support Services – A Need, Not An Option
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