Crime Stoppers releases elder abuse podcast
Crime Stoppers Victoria has released a five-episode podcast series focusing on the increase 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 Law Institute of Victoria to delve into the issue that often remains behind closed doors.
Crime Stoppers Victoria chief executive Stella Smith says the podcast seeks to educate the listener on the forms of elder abuse that are taking place within the community and on how we can all play a role in addressing this matter with those we know.
“Elder abuse is an issue that may be taking place in households of those who are close to us. Given the victim may be reluctant to raise these matters to friends and family due to fear or pride, we need to pay attention to the elder members in our world and let them know we are there for them,” she said.
“There are a number of services that both them and we can turn to for support to ensure they are living their lives in the way they want to and are not being unfairly influenced by others who are acting in self-interest."
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 mentions the importance of ensuring the older person is a part of the decision-making process associated to them and for us 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 episodes 2 and 3, Senior Sergeant Alasdair Gall and Detective Senior Sergeant Matthew Russell of Victoria Police’s Family Violence Command join the podcast to discuss the issue and in particular, Victoria Police’s Financial Elder Abuse Trial that is currently being undertaken across parts of Victoria to address the financial exploitation of elder persons.
The discussion looks at the purpose of the elder abuse trial and outlines the importance of welfare checks on elder persons to identify and address suspicious behaviour.
‘A lot of referrals come to us from health care networks ... we find agency to agencies (communication) can resolve a lot of situations and the police can act as a sounding board.” Senior Sergeant Gall said.
Episode 4 looks at power of attorney and guardianship arrangements, with Dr John Chesterman, Acting Public Advocate of the Office of the Public Advocate joining the discussion.
Speaking on the role of the guardian in managing complex family relationships, Dr Chesterman says “our focus is on the person who is appointed but that person may want to retain contact with those people (the children) who are in conflict. So, we have to find a path through there to help the person maintain contact where they are not in danger.”
In terms of differentiating when to seek advice between Victoria Police, the Office of the Public Advocate and Seniors Rights Victoria, Dr Chesterman provides a handy guide:
“Where there is a suspicion of a crime occurring, Victoria Police is the place to go. When you have a situation where a person who may not have the capacity to make decisions, that is an area of our speciality. 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 there.”
Episode 5 outlines the legal avenues that can be undertaken in the event of elder abuse, with Kathy Wilson of Kathy Wilson Legal and the Law Institute of Victoria.
The discussion also highlights how progress can be made on the matter before obtaining legal advice.
“A good place to start is to speak to somebody they trust. Whoever they trust most away from the perpetrator. Somebody they trust who will listen to their concerns and guide them through it.”
The podcast is available at https://play.acast.com/s/crime-stoppers-vic.
Do you know someone who has been a victim of elder abuse? Would you know what to do to if someone told you they were a victim of elder abuse?