An integral part of the Seniors Rights Victoria program is an advice call service for older Victorians. Older people can request personalised advice from a lawyer and advocate to assist them in addressing elder abuse they are experiencing or preventing it from occurring in high-risk situations.
While each person’s experience of abuse is singular, we wanted to know more about the shared contexts, drivers, risk factors and characteristics, to better understand the client demographics and the contexts in which abuse occurs. This will encourage focused prevention activities and highlight areas where more research or evidence may be needed.
What we did
Working with the National Ageing Research Institute, we analysed seven years of data collected from Seniors Rights Victoria advice calls (2012 to 2019). We had previously analysed two years of data but increasing the project parameters increased the robustness of the evidence and allowed us to identify changes and trends over the seven-year period. The project was funded by a grant from the State Trustees Australia Foundation.
The analysis considered aggregate data about client demographics and characteristics, the type of matter requiring advice, perpetrator characteristics, and where the clients were referred to.
The results were presented in a research report and summary document, which was distributed to key stakeholders in the elder abuse, family violence, health, ageing and community service sectors, as well as members of parliament, researchers and media.
The research report was launched at an online panel discussion in August 2020, which focused on what the analysis showed about elder abuse perpetrator characteristics.
The webinar was attended by 220 people and has since been viewed by 150 people, and the research report has been quoted in presentations and reports by external organisations.
This research report has augmented the evidence base for elder abuse that occurs within the family. It has highlighted the areas we need to research in more detail (including the characteristics and motivations of perpetrators, and the outcomes of advice call clients) and allowed us to make recommendations for improving our data collection in future.
The research has increased interest in elder abuse perpetrators and opened up opportunities to further this work in collaboration with other organisations.