Sue Ellery

Sue Ellery

Minister for Child Protection; Communities; Women's Interests; Seniors and Volunteering

    New seniors' legal service to help prevent elder abuse

    15/06/2007 11:47 AM

    A new advisory service will help tackle the abuse of older people in Western Australia.

    Seniors Minister Sue Ellery today announced the Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre and Advocare Inc would provide the State Government’s new advisory service for seniors who had been abused or were at risk of abuse.

    The partnership would receive $160,000 annually until June 2009 to offer legal advice and information, support, advocacy and referrals for older people who were in abusive situations or who needed help to protect their rights and welfare.

    Ms Ellery said this was an exciting new step in the quest to prevent elder abuse in WA.

    “More often than not, elder abuse is perpetrated by someone in a position of trust, such as a family member, so very few older people are willing to report the abuse,” she said.

    “The majority of cases involve financial exploitation. Older people have the right to make their own decisions, and family members and friends do not have the right to bully them into making decisions against their will.”

    Common examples of financially abusive behaviour included:
    • pressuring an older person to relinquish an anticipated inheritance;
    • selling an older person’s home with the promise of providing future accommodation or care, and then not providing it;
    • managing, without permission, the finances of a competent older person;
    • misusing powers of attorney; and
    • pressuring an older person for a gift or loan of money.
    Yokine MLA Bob Kucera said sometimes older people needed assistance to say no, and the new service would help them to understand and assert their rights.

    “I congratulate the Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre and Advocare on being awarded the contract and am confident they will provide an excellent service that will complement the existing work of Advocare Inc and the Public Advocate,” Mr Kucera said.

    The service will employ a full-time solicitor and part-time social worker who will work together to provide advice and support, including referrals to other services.

    It will open later this year, operating daily from the Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre in Mirrabooka and Advocare Inc in Perth from 9am to 5pm on weekdays.

    Minister's office - 9213 7150