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National Elder Abuse Conference will Rock the Boat

The National Elder Abuse Conference 2019 (NEAC), held in Brisbane from 22 and 23 July, will present informative and inspirational speakers providing the latest in rights to support older Australians in living free from abuse, violence, exploitation and neglect.

The National Elder Abuse Conference 2019 aims to rock the bottom around elder abuse solutions and ideas. (NEAC) [Source: Shutterstock]
The National Elder Abuse Conference 2019 aims to rock the bottom around elder abuse solutions and ideas. (NEAC) [Source: Shutterstock]

Hosted by the Aged and Disability Australia (ADA Australia) and Caxton Legal Centre, the conference has a strong representation of people interested in support for disadvantaged people, specifically older Australians.

The aim of the conference is to drive real change, with the current Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and National Plan on Elder Abuse highlighting Australia’s need to support the elderly.

Attracting more than 500 delegates from across Australia, the lineup has international, national and local experts on stage providing information and helping to create a collaborative space to tackle issues of elder abuse.

The conference theme, Rock the Boat, is in reference to harnessing the speaker's insight, creativity and passion to challenge the current stigma around elder abuse and drive action to end the hidden practice in Australia.

NEAC 2019 will not be a conference for just sitting and listening, with active engagement with attendees to develop solutions to problems and promote change.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ADA Australia, Geoff Rowe has been locking in speakers for the event and preparing for what he considers to be an important conference based on solutions rather than just information.

He is looking forward to the format of the conference, which champions in-depth discussion and, potentially, controversial answers.

“Often conferences do 80 percent of presentations, a single person speaking, and then 20 percent is a panel. We are just flipping it on its head and putting 80 percent into trying to progress the discussion and address the issues,” Mr Rowe says.

“We are hoping we will challenge and start debate… There is a strong interest in elder abuse and we would like to really capitalise on that. We have put a lot of energy into making sure older people are able to participate in the program of the conference.

“I think it’s a very clear direction of where we as a community need to go to respond to elder abuse… My hope and desire is that people will leave the conference with a better understanding of not only what the issues are but what are potential solutions and how we as a community more broadly can raise the profile of elder abuse.”

Mr Rowe is excited by the lineup, which has a broad cross-section of people who work, and research elder abuse, as well as individuals who have experienced it firsthand.

One of the panel speakers, Lecturer at Curtin University, Dr Barbara Blundell will be a facilitator of the final conference panel, Our recipe for success: A contemporary and collaborative response to elder abuse in the community.

The aim of the panel is to discuss creative and resourceful ways to respond to elder abuse in communities while raising awareness of the prevalence in society.

Dr Blundell says, “The theme of the conference is to rock the boat, we want to come up with what can we do differently and how can we do it in a way that uses existing resources that we have.

“It’s good to have money invested in the sector, but what are we already doing and how can we work together to actually make a change and improve the lives of people experiencing abuse?

“I really enjoy these conferences, being in Western Australia, we are often a bit isolated from what is going on in the East Coast. It’s a really good chance to find out what is going on around the country and learn from different innovations that are happening.”

Throughout Dr Blundell’s research, she has focussed on elder abuse, ageing and disability issues, human rights and advocacy. 

Her work in spreading awareness around elder abuse has resulted in many people approaching her in public domains about their own stories.

Dr Blundell says, “The tag line is that it’s everyone’s business, so it’s really important for community awareness to be raised about this issue because it’s something that happens a lot more frequently than people would realise. Raising awareness is very important.”

To find out more about the event or to attend the event, visit here

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