Resources to prevent elder abuse

 
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On 14 June 2017 the Australian Law Reform Commission published its report Elder Abuse—A National Legal Response[1]. Among a host of recommendations and suggestions, the Commission observed that “community education is clearly an important strategy of” the suggested National plan to combat elder abuse. There are resources in the public domain which can assist with this issue. Hopefully more will be developed. The existing web resources known to me are these:

Mental Capacity – Substitute Decision Making (ie making decisions for other people)

 The capacity toolkit is divided into four sections and addresses those in the community, the legal profession, the health profession and those working in the financial sector.  Each section is designed to be read independently of the other sections.

Attorney General’s Department NSW ‘Capacity Toolkit’ at

http://www.diversityservices.justice.nsw.gov.au

The Respect for Seniors Program produced five DVDs. These short (about four minutes each) DVD’s examine issues associated with cognitive impairment, granny flats and financial abuse (by a family member).

Cognitive Impairment

http://www.respectforseniors.org/?p=dvd

Accommodation – issues facing older people when making choices (or having choices made for them) about where to live

  • Granny flats – one of the series produced by the Respect for Seniors Program.

http://www.respectforseniors.org/?p=dvd

The Older Women’s Network produced a series of brochures to assist older women avoid getting into situations of elder abuse. These brochures address the issues of granny flats, loans compared to gifts, going guarantor, and two brochures examine the issue of entering into relationships when we are older (and protecting our assets at the same time).

http://www.ownnsw.org.au/how-could-they/

Financial  – some of the issues confronting older people when it comes to money and abuse

  • Centrelink’s Financial Information Service (FIS) – provides information on the financial aspects of ageing. To access the services of FIS a person does NOT have to be a recipient of Centrelink benefits – anyone can use this service.

https://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/financial-information-service

  • The Australian Investment and Securities Commission (ASIC) website provides invaluable information on many of the issues surrounding elder abuse, these include scams and financial abuse by family.

https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/scams

https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/life-events-and-you/over-55s/memory-loss-dementia-and-your-money

https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/life-events-and-you/families/financial-abuse

  • Alzheimer’s Australia have produced the following resources to assist people understand the issues surrounding financial abuse particularly in relation to those with dementia.

https://www.fightdementia.org.au/files/helpsheets/Helpsheet-DementiaQandA22-PreventingFinancialAbuseofPeoplewithdementia_english.pdf

  • Older Women’s Network – one of the series of brochures on assisting older women avoid situations of financial abuse.

http://www.ownnsw.org.au/how-could-they/

  • One in the series of Respect for Seniors program

http://www.respectforseniors.org/?p=dvd

 Free legal services and elder abuse helpline

  • Justice Connect Vic/NSW

https://www.justiceconnect.org.au/our-programs/legal-assistance-for-individuals

  • Senior’s Rights

http://seniorsrightsservice.org.au/

  • NSW Elder Abuse Helpline & Resource Unit:

http://www.elderabusehelpline.com.au/about

I’d be pleased to add to this list if there are other similar resources that are easily available.

 

Darryl Browne[2]

 

[1] The report is available at https://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/elder-abuse-report, accessed 15 July 2017.

[2] Darryl Browne is the principal of BROWNE. Linkenbagh Legal Services. He is an Accredited Specialist in Wills and Estates. He is the Chair of the Law Society’s Ethics Committee. He has been a member (2010- 2014, 2016), Chair (2014) and Deputy Chair (2016) of the Elder Law and Succession Committee. He is a Councillor of the Law Society, a member of the Specialist Accreditation Board and the Society’s Property Law Committee, Criminal Law Committee, Disclosure Committee and Fidelity Fund Management Committee.  He is a member of the Law Council of Australia’s Elder Law and Succession Committee and its Working Group on Elder Abuse. He is a member of the Legal Aid Commission Board and the University of Sydney’s Law Extension Committee. He writes bi-monthly Case Notes on wills and estates for LSJ and occasional other articles for that and other journals. He facilitates the Law Society’s online Wills and Probate Procedures for Solicitors. He designed and presents the Masterclass on Powers of Attorney. He is a member of STEP and SMSF Association. He has been tasked to chair the NSW Law Society’s multidisciplinary Working Group on Elder Abuse. The opinions expressed in this article are his own.

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