Responding to elder abuse

The Royal Commission into Family Violence reported that older people who experience elder abuse are largely invisible to the family violence service system.

They do not have their abuse recognised or addressed within broader health and community sectors. Consequently, elder abuse is under-reported, unrecognised and not adequately responded to across the care continuum.

Trial of an Integrated model of care 

In response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence findings, the Victorian Government implemented an integrated model of care for responding to suspected elder abuse.

The Integrated model of care was trialled at:

  • Latrobe Community Health Service
  • Monash Health
  • The Royal Melbourne Hospital (also known as Melbourne Health)
  • Western Health
  • Peninsula Health.

The Integrated model of care trial aimed to strengthen elder abuse responses and support in Victorian health services. The model created multiple entry points for older people, their carers and families to access specialist support services to address suspected elder abuse.

The Integrated model of care was based on a least restrictive, client-centred and family-inclusive framework. It consisted of four key funded components.

Workforce training

The government funded The Bouverie Centre to:

  • train clinical staff and partners of the trial health services to respond to suspected elder abuse

  • develop self-paced professional learning modules. This includes capacity-building and the development of appropriate pathways of care.

Professionals can access training on elder abuse at the Elder Abuse Learning Hub.

Elder abuse liaison officer

The government funded a full-time liaison officer at each Aged Care Assessment Service auspiced by the trial health services.

Liaison officers provided specialist clinical advice and consultancy regarding complex discharge decisions for older people at risk of or experiencing elder abuse.

They also provided secondary consultation to services requiring advice and referral on elder abuse cases across the catchment area.

Counselling and mediation services (including financial counselling)

The government funded Better Place Australia, The Royal Melbourne Hospital and a consortium led by Sunbury and Cobaw Community Health to provide counselling and mediation (including financial counselling) at the trial health services.

This offered a therapeutic pathway for older people, their carers and families and helped prevent cases from escalating to the legal system.

Elder abuse prevention network

The government supported the operation of a local prevention network in each catchment area of the trial health services.

An elder abuse prevention network is a group of agencies and community organisations that met regularly to work on primary prevention activities and develop resources that help stop elder abuse from occurring in the first place. 

The Integrated model of care for responding to suspected elder abuse concluded on 18 August 2023. For any queries regarding this initiative, please email

Senior Rights Victoria

Seniors Rights Victoria safeguards the rights, dignity and independence of older people.

The service specialises in elder abuse and provides free information via a helpline, legal advice, advocacy, support, policy reform and education to help prevent elder abuse. It is a respectful environment where older people can talk confidentially about their experiences and choose their preferred action. Interpreters are available when needed.


Seniors Rights Victoria can help any Victorian aged 60 and above, or any Aboriginal Victorian aged 45 and above, by providing legal advice, social work advocacy and, where resourcing and other considerations allow, legal casework on matters relating to elder abuse. This includes:

  • intervention orders. Elder abuse is a form of family violence and intervention orders are often an available option
  • arrangements involving the exchange of assets in return for the promise of care including ‘family care’, ‘assets for care’ and ‘granny flat’ arrangements
  • situations involving adult children who return home to live or who never leave home
  • behaviour that is overly restrictive of a person’s ability to make their own lifestyle decisions, including inappropriate exercises of power under a power of attorney for personal matters
  • financial abuse, including debts and loans
  • debts and loans
  • misuse of financial powers of attorney 
  • transfer of property
  • co-ownership disputes
  • advice regarding disputes about contact with grandchildren
  • guardianship and administration
  • future planning to protect against elder abuse, including powers of attorney and wills.

Please note Seniors Rights Victoria does not assist with:  

  • drafting wills and powers of attorney, unless a case is open and a new will or power of attorney is needed to prevent further abuse occurring
  • neighbourhood disputes
  • family law
  • consumer law
  • complaints about aged care providers
  • probate and administration of estates
  • pensions
  • criminal law
  • infringement matters.

If you, a client or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse, please call 1300 368 821 (10 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday excluding public holidays).

Further information is available at Seniors Rights Victoria. 

If you need immediate assistance in an emergency or life-threatening situation, call triple zero (000).

Elder abuse family counselling and mediation service

Elder abuse family counselling and mediation services are available through five of The Orange Door services. The service supports older people and their families with therapeutic options to address alleged or potential abuse and prevent it from escalating or occurring in the future.

A family consultant (or equivalent) provides services to both older people and their families. Services may include but are not limited to:

  • counselling
  • financial counselling
  • mediation
  • family meetings.

The service adopts a client-centred and family-inclusive framework that:

  • supports the older person who wants to maintain familial relationships but wants the abuse to cease and seeks an alternative to a legal response, where appropriate.
  • may include working with the alleged perpetrator (if this is the preference of the older person, the alleged perpetrator is a willing participant and it is safe to do so).

The service is delivered by Better Place Australia and is currently available to older people who present at GenWest and the following The Orange Door services:

  • Inner Gippsland
  • Bayside Peninsula
  • North Eastern Melbourne
  • Barwon.

To refer an older person, their family or both to the elder abuse family counselling and mediation service, please call 1800 214 117 or email This phone line is also known as ELDERHelp.

Elder abuse organisations in other states and territories

If you or a client lives outside Victoria, call the national elder abuse phone line on 1800 353 374. This is a free call phone number that automatically redirects callers to the elder abuse helpline or service in their state or territory. 

If you need immediate assistance in an emergency or life-threatening situation, call triple zero (000).