Funding to protect the rights of older Australians
The Morrison Government is continuing to deliver on its 2016 election commitment to better protect the rights of Older Australians, providing over $44 million in additional funding to support initiatives under the National Plan to Respond to the Abuse of Older Australians 2019 – 2023 (National Plan).
The abuse of older Australians is a complex health and social problem that can have devastating physical, emotional and social consequences for older people, their families and communities.
With the number of older Australians predicted to almost double to 9 million in the next 25 years, the Australian Government is committed to ensuring that our growing and diverse population of older people are cared for and respected.
The National Plan is the cornerstone of the Government's response to elder abuse, as it provides the opportunity to build commitment and drive national consistency.
The funding announced will expand upon the success of a range of initiatives commenced under the National Plan, including $18.4 million over 3 years to extend specialist elder abuse support services (and $6.0 million in 2025-26).
This builds on the $20.7 million provided since the 2018-19 Federal Budget to trial specialist elder abuse services under the More Choices for a Longer Life – Protecting Older Australians package.
The specialist elder abuse services take a multidisciplinary approach to deliver three key service types: specialist elder abuse units, health-justice partnerships and case management and mediation services.
They have been operating effectively since 2019 across a mix of urban, regional and remote locations across Australia, with many offering wrap-around legal, social and health support services, as well as family counselling.
This announcement provides funding certainty for these important services, ensuring that specialist staff can continue to provide practical support to older Australians at risk of, or experiencing, abuse.
In addition, the funding announced today will support other core elements of the Australian Government's commitment to the National Plan, including:
- $4.8 million for awareness and response activities, including the 1800 ELDERHelp phone line and the elder abuse knowledge hub, Compass.info. These important national resources ensure the community is able to connect to elder abuse information and assistance services, regardless of where they live across Australia
- $4.8 million to expand Australia's national elder abuse research agenda, which will help to address research gaps, including in relation to the experience of elder abuse in the culturally and linguistically diverse and LGBTIQA+ communities; and in older Australians experiencing cognitive decline
- $4.0 million for national elder abuse awareness raising activities, to ensure that community understanding and support for older people experiencing elder abuse continues to grow
- $1.2 million for the national elder abuse peak body, Elder Abuse Action Australia (EAAA). EAAA is the only national organisation providing a specific voice for those affected by elder abuse and those organisations that take a rights-based approach to addressing ageism and ending elder abuse, and
- $0.4 million for resources to commence development of a second National Plan.
If you experience, witness or suspect elder abuse, you can call the National Elder Abuse phone line 1800ELDERHelp (1800 353 374) for free and confidential information, support and referrals.
You can also visit Compass.info for further information and resources.