Almost 200 members of Sydney’s South Asian community have attended a forum aimed at improving legal literacy, stimulating conversation around financial and other forms of elder abuse, and decreasing the shame and stigma in the community around these issues.
Held at the Blacktown Seniors Citizens Centre on June 2, the afternoon event was organised by AASHA, an organisation formed to provide services and support for seniors of Indian and South Asian origin.
Diana Bernard, education manager with Seniors Rights Service, facilitated a lively panel discussion featuring a Seniors Rights Service lawyer, a Centrelink financial information services officer and representatives from the police, NSW Elder Abuse Helpline and AASHA.
The discussion was built around a case study based on a compilation of real cases. In the case study, an older South Asian woman sells her house and gives the money to her adult children, who promise she can live with them. However the children then cut her off socially and financially, and want her to move out. Because she gifted them the money, with no documentation, she is at risk of having no home or pension.
Ms Bernard says feedback from the event was excellent. Attendees were very interested in the panel discussion and appreciated the issues being raised, as people were often reluctant to speak up about abuse within their family. They said they were grateful to discover there were trusted people they could approach if they needed help.