As part of the unique initiative, all registered attendees - whether industry or individuals - are set to receive a short online survey which will contribute to the development of a ‘conference communique’, and in turn, a final conference statement.
With roughly 500 attendees expected to attend the event run by Seniors Rights Service from 19-20 February in Sydney, Chief Executive Officer Russell Westacott says this new avenue of engagement offers an opportunity to truly show that the conference theme of ‘Together Making Change’ is absolutely possible.
“This is the first time the survey has been run and it is all based around the Australian Law Reform Commission’s recommendations in June - we want to get an idea of what people see as a priority and use it to send a message to the government about what they should be prioritising,” Mr Westacott explains.
“Over the past 18 months there has been a lot of work on various inquiries and we want to make sure the recommendations of those inquiries are actioned and that the reports aren’t just sitting on a shelf gathering dust.
“Now is the time to make a call to action so we can create change and respond to elder abuse - the fact that five percent of Australian seniors are experiencing this is unacceptable and we need to reduce this risk in Australian society.
“This five percent who are victims of elder abuse equates to 182,000 Australians and these people are someone's family, someones neighbour and in someone’s community.”
Through the feedback gained through the survey, and through interviews with around 30 team leaders, Seniors Rights Service is aiming to create a conference communique which will be open for discussion and change across the two-day conference.
Mr Westacott says with the changes made during the conference, the team hopes to create a final conference statement which he says will be passed on to all attending delegates to take away with them, and will also be passed on to all government bodies to “ensure elder abuse is addressed”.
“We want the final statement to be a message that delegates send beyond the two day conference,” Mr Westacott explains.
“This whole conference is about energizing people at the event and allowing them to participate in the process of crafting and developing this.
“That’s why the theme of the conference is what it is - because we are bringing together people from all different sectors and consulting with them to become part of the statement and hopefully the call for change.
“These key developments engaged multiple stakeholders across Australia and provided policy-makers and governments with a sound framework to resource a meaningful, proactive response to elder abuse.
“It is now the role of the delegation at the 5th National Elder Abuse Conference to work together to coherently articulate its vision for that response and this conference provides an opportunity to create real change in 2018 and beyond.
“We are trying to hold a different conference, one that isn’t just people standing on a stage with a PowerPoint presentation - not saying this won’t be part of it but we are teaming it with lots of interactivity through things like the survey, workshops and discussion panels.”
As well as offering attendees the opportunity to be a part of the change, Mr Westacott says the conference, which will see more than 200 national and international speakers, offers much more.
Among the key speakers on the line up for the conference is Federal Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt; Age Discrimination Commissioner, Human Rights Commission Doctor Kay Patterson; and Founder Chairperson Ageing Nepal Krishna Gautam.