The Royal Commission into Family Violence reported that older people who experience elder abuse are largely invisible to the family violence service system, and do not have their abuse recognised or addressed within broader health sectors. Consequently, elder abuse is under-reported, unrecognised and not adequately responded to across the care continuum.

Trial of an integrated model of care 

In response to the findings of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, the Victorian Government is implementing an integrated model of care for responding to suspected elder abuse, which is being trialled at:

  • Melbourne Health
  • Latrobe Community Health Service
  • Monash Health
  • Western Health
  • Peninsula Health.

The integrated model of care aims to strengthen elder abuse responses and support within Victorian health services. It will do this by creating multiple entry points for older people and their carers and families to access specialist support services to address suspected elder abuse.

Integrated model of care framework

The integrated model of care is based on a least restrictive, client-centred and family-inclusive framework. It consists of four key funded components:

1. Workforce training

The government is funding the Bouverie Centre to train clinical staff and partners of the trial health services to respond to suspected elder abuse. This includes capacity-building and development of appropriate pathways of care.

Further information about the workforce training is available on the Bouverie Centre website.

2. Liaison Officer – Elder abuse prevention and response

The government is funding a full time liaison officer at each of the Aged Care Assessment Services auspiced by the trial health services.

The liaison officer provides specialist clinical advice and consultancy regarding complex discharge decisions for older people at risk of or experiencing elder abuse.

They also provide secondary consultation to services requiring advice and referral on elder abuse cases across the catchment area.

3. Counselling and mediation services (including financial counselling)

The government is funding FMC Mediation and Counselling and a consortium led by Sunbury Community Health to provide counselling and mediation (including financial counselling) at the trial health services. This offers a therapeutic pathway for older people and their carers and families, helping prevent escalation of cases to the legal system.

4. Elder Abuse Prevention Network

The government is supporting the establishment of a local prevention network in each catchment area of the trial health services.

An elder abuse prevention network is a group of agencies and community organisations who meet regularly to work on key objectives such as developing interagency protocols and raising awareness of elder abuse.

For any queries regarding the integrated model of care for responding to suspected elder abuse, please email elder.abuse@dhhs.vic.gov.au