Elder abuse conference aims to drive real change

Elder abuse conference aims to drive real change

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ABC News breakfast presenter Virginia Trioli will speak at the conference. Photo: Eddie Jim.

ABC News breakfast presenter Virginia Trioli will speak at the conference. Photo: Eddie Jim.


Elder abuse is a widespread issue.


THIS year’s National Elder Abuse Conference is being seen as an opportunity to drive real change.

With a backdrop of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, and a draft National Plan on Elder Abuse, the conference aims to make sense of how Australia can safeguard the right of older people to a life free from abuse, violence, exploitation and neglect.

It is organised by Aged and Disability Advocacy (ADA) Australia and Caxton Legal Centre.

Speakers will include ABC News breakfast presenter Virginia Trioli, former US elder abuse prosecutor Paul Greenwood and author and speaker Kate Swaffer, who brings a personal perspective on the challenges associated with a dementia diagnosis.

And ADA Australia chief executive Geoff Rowe says it won’t be a “talkfest”. Rather, under the theme Rock the Boat, he said it will have a clear focus on issues that need challenging to produce much-needed change.

More than 500 delegates from across Australia are expected to attend.


Caxton Legal Centre’s Cybele Koning said while the royal commission was shedding important light on elder abuse, most Australians didn’t realise its widespread nature and the different ways it can occur.

“The cases of abuse you see on the news tend to focus on aged care facilities, but elder abuse mainly occurs at home so it may be difficult to notice,” she said.

“Family dynamics can be quite complex.

“The majority of family members are supportive of older relatives and provide good care when needed.

“However, behind closed doors there are situations, mainly involving assets or money, where older Australians are exploited by relatives or other trusted people.

“How this happens and how it can be prevented requires deeper analysis.”

Ms Koning said the conference would provide the perfect platform to answer questions such as: What are the rights of older Australians? What rights do we want to safeguard? Do we respect that older Australians choose to take some risks? What really works to prevent elder abuse?

Details - National Elder Abuse Conference, July 22-23, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre – neac2019.com.au or phone 1300-878-815.