The monthly referral hubs, located at Ultimo Community Centre and Reginald Murphy Centre in Potts Point, will provide people aged over 55 with information and allow them to speak to specialists about their legal rights, accommodation options, relationships, domestic violence and aged care services, with seniors able to be connected with tailored support, and even translators, where needed.
City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore says the new hubs are an “important joint initiative” that supports older residents to feel safe and be safe from elder abuse, which research suggests has affected as many as 50,000 older people in New South Wales (NSW).
“We have a zero tolerance approach to elder abuse, and work with police, support services and the community to raise awareness, prevent abuse from occurring and to support those at risk,” she explains.
“Staff at the City’s community centres have been trained to look for signs of elder abuse and are able to provide advice and support to our older residents.”
NSW based advocacy group, Seniors Rights Service, has welcomed the introduction of the monthly hubs, with Chief Executive Officer Russell Westacott calling it a great initiative that goes into local communities and engages with people directly.
“Hopefully older people will find out about their rights and learn more about recognising and addressing the abuse of older people,” he says.
“With this new knowledge they will be able to assist a neighbour or a family member, or themselves, to get assistance whether from a doctor, the police or legal advice and advocacy from Seniors Rights Service.”
Mr Westacott adds that preventing the suffering of older people requires everyone - the community, local councils, state and federal government - to be using the most effective and proven methods to stop this “insidious problem”.
“Collaborating with organisations who work closely with and on behalf of older people, such as Seniors Rights Service and the NSW Elder Abuse Helpline and Resource Unit, could help thousands of seniors every year who experience financial, physical and emotional abuse,” he explains.
“This collaborative initiative from the NSW Elder Abuse Helpline and Resource Unit and the City of Sydney is one example of what this country needs to put in place to prevent the abuse of older people.
“More resources, more education are needed so that older people know their rights and how and where to get assistance.
“Organisations such as Seniors Rights Service and the NSW Elder Abuse Helpline and Resource Unit hear from older people every day who are suffering abuse, often from those who are closest to them.
“Through providing legal advice and advocacy [we] help people when they need it.”