“Elder abuse happening behind closed doors…”

Looking out for older people when they’re out of sight

The culmination of increased stress and anxiety, financial pressures and social isolation during the pandemic has led to a rise in cases of elder abuse. Alarmingly, most of these cases have taken place behind closed doors where it’s easily concealed since the older person has been cut off from social and support networks.  

  • (icon) Orange Door Family Consultants have observed clients referred are likely to have experienced degrees of physical assault that required police intervention. 

  • (icon) Being single and female places the older person at a higher risk of elder abuse. 

  • (icon) An estimated 71% of victims are female with no partner. 

In the past 18 months, Better Place Australia has received 40% more referrals for older people from community health agencies. This is likely the outcome of a concerted initiative to raise awareness of elder abuse by the Elder Abuse Prevention Networks across Victoria.

Better Place Australia is part of key elder abuse consortiums aimed at raising awareness around drivers of elder abuse and promoting greater service links and cooperation among the Victorian Government, Southern Melbourne Primary Care Partnership, community legal service organisations, local councils and other key primary health partnerships. 

Like many other organisations, we too have shifted our services and ways of working to digital platforms. One of our digital initiatives is the creation of  self-help mental health and well-being resources online aimed at providing clients and practitioners resources they can access in their own time and in the privacy of their own homes, supporting them when they need it most.

More women seeking financial counselling during the pandemic

Women have been shouldering the extra responsibility of handling remote learning, child-rearing and homemaking while juggling their regular work. With the increased  

(icon) Women make up 63% of Better Place Australia’s total current Financial Counselling and Capability (FCC) client base. 

(icon) They face greater vulnerability to the financial volatility during the pandemic. 

(icon) VIctorians are increasingly resorting to short-term credit such as payday loans to make ends meet. 

Many women have found themselves faced with the increased risk of losing their jobs, being ineligible for government support during the pandemic, and often work in precarious, lower paid roles. 

For as long as harmful gendered financial attitudes go unnoticed in Australian culture, women will always face the risk of financial insecurity and dependence. Better Place Australia works to advocate for and support those who are struggling financially by offering FCC services and through our work with the National Debt Hotline. 

From a dark time to a brighter future

(icon) An estimated 65,000 Australians attempt suicide every year. 

(icon) 25% of that number will make a re-attempt within three months if there’s no follow-up support and care. 

Better Place Australia launched The Way Back Support Service (TWBSS) in partnership with South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (SEMPHN), Beyond Blue and Monash Health in April 2021. 

The service supports those who’ve attempted suicide or experienced a suicidal crisis through the Better Place Support Coordinators. They play an integral role in working with these clients to develop a safety plan and provide personalised support over three months. Clients are supported by coordinators who support them with a safe space to participate in the recovery process through their darkest hours.

TWBSS was developed by Beyond Blue and commissioned by SEMPHN. Funding from the federal and state governments is funnelled to those who are referred through Casey and Dandenong hospitals.

In 2023, the name of the Better Place Australia program was changed to the HOPE Outreach Program and clients are now soley referred by Monash Dandenong. Read more about HOPE.

Read about the research the Centre for Better Relationships (CBR) is undertaking to improve the lives of older people. CBR is the research arm of Better Place Australia.

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