Respect Victoria campaign asks communities to connect with older relatives on International Day of Older Persons

Elder abuse. Hard to picture.

Respect Victoria is proud to relaunch Respect Older People: Call It Out on International Day of Older Persons. 

The campaign calls on communities to connect with older relatives, neighbours and friends to prevent elder abuse. 

“Respect Older People highlights the warning signs of elder abuse and emphasises the importance of connecting with the older people in our lives,” said Respect Victoria CEO Tracey Gaudry. 

Elder abuse can be financial, physical, emotional, psychological, social, or sexual. 

A recent study 'Seven Years of Elder Abuse Data in Victoria' capturing and translating data from calls made to the the community support service Seniors Rights Victoria found that 91% of abuse experienced by callers was perpetrated by a family member. 

It also found that psychological and financial abuse are the most common forms of abuse experienced by older people in Victoria. 

“For some older people, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to unique challenges: increased isolation, adult children moving home or seeking financial support, and an amplification of perceived vulnerability,” Ms Gaudry said. 

“Ageism is a significant driver of elder abuse, and as a society we must call it out early and respect the needs, experiences and contribution of older people in Victoria.”   

“The language that we use about older people and the stories that we tell must be respectful, and not marginalise or remove people’s agency,” said Ms Gaudry. 

The Commissioner for Senior Victorians, Gerard Mansour, welcomed the campaign.

“Older people have shared with me their stories about how devastated they have been by elder abuse,” Mr Mansour said.

“This conduct has no place in our society. The key to stopping it is respect – respect across the generations for the sacrifice and contribution that seniors have made in building the lifestyle that many enjoy today.”

Seniors Rights Victoria Manager Jenny Blakey said that as individuals and a community, we must call out ageist attitudes.

“It’s important that we don’t lose sight of the contributions that older people have to offer, and that we work together to address harmful attitudes and behaviour,” said Ms Blakey.

“The simple act of striking up a conversation can ultimately prevent elder abuse,” said Ms Gaudry.

The campaign will run across metropolitan, regional and rural television, press, radio and major digital and social media channels. The campaign will also run in Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Greek, Italian and Vietnamese across select radio stations and in language-specific newspapers, to ensure diverse communities across Victoria are reached. 

Find out more about the Respect Older People campaign, download the social media toolkit, and access resources for multicultural communities in language on Respect Victoria's website

If you need help or want to seek support on behalf of someone you know: 

Contact Seniors Rights Victoria confidential helpline: 1300 368 821. More information can be found on the Senior Rights Victoria website.

If you are experiencing or are at risk of experiencing family violence: 

  • Contact safe steps confidential helpline by calling 1800 015 188 or try their live web chat service available 9am-9pm, Monday - Friday. Chats are anonymous and accessible to anyone experiencing violence or concerned about the welfare of a loved one. More information can be found on the Safe Steps website.
  • Call 1800 Respect's national helpline on 1800 737 732. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to support people impacted by family violence. More information can be found on the 1800 Respect website.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call triple zero.