Seniors Rights Service principal solicitor Tom Cowen and assistant principal solicitor Jennifer Smythe, along with Lewis Kaplan, then CEO of the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN), attended the National Plan On Elder Abuse consultation session along with many other sector representatives.
The Council of Attorneys-General’s (CAG) Working Group on Protecting the Rights of Older Australians is responsible for the development of this plan, which is in response to a recommendation of the Australian Law Reform Commission’s report, Elder Abuse – A National Legal Response. The CAG Working Group is currently preparing a draft plan in consultation with older people, community sector and business.
The five overarching goals of the plan are to:
• Promote the autonomy and agency of older people;
• Address ageism and promote community understanding of elder abuse;
• Progress national consistency;
• Safeguard at-risk older people and improve responses; and
• Build the evidence base.
CASE STUDY: A great result for one of our clients
“Grace”* came to us for help when her retirement village operator wanted to redevelop the village. Under the Retirement Villages Act, the operator was obliged to offer her suitable alternative accommodation, but Grace was having difficulty coming to an agreement with the operator about the details of the arrangements. Negotiations dragged on, the other village residents all relocated, and she ended up as the sole remaining resident in the village, living there alone for over six months. The Seniors Rights Service solicitor provided intensive assistance in negotiating terms for her alternative accommodation and our social support worker provided support and assistance to aid her in coming to terms with the situation and making a decision. Grace is moving to her new retirement village at the end of this month. She reports that she is very happy with the choice she has made and is looking forward to settling in to her new home. This is a very successful outcome for a vulnerable client.
*Names and identifying details have been changed.