Integrated practice models key to tackling elder abuse

(Eduardo Barrios/Unsplash)

Elder abuse is a serious problem in Australia and across the globe, with one in six Australians over 65 years of age experiencing abuse. Elder abuse occurs when a person causes harm or distress to an older person. Elder abuse can be psychological, financial, physical, sexual, or neglect. Adult children and family members (including intimate partners) most commonly perpetrate elder abuse.

Established by Eastern Community Legal Centre (ECLC) and its partners Eastern Health and Oonah Health & Community Services Aboriginal Corporation, the ELSA and ROSE programs were created in 2019 as part of the National Plan to respond to the abuse of older Australians, funded by the Commonwealth Government.

ELSA and ROSE provide integrated practice models that combine lawyers and other community service professionals including elder abuse advocates (often social workers) and financial counsellors to provide a wrap-around service for those experiencing elder abuse.

Michael Smith, ECLC CEO says that the Centre is proud of its ongoing work to prevent, intervene early and respond to elder abuse.

“The ROSE and ELSA programs demonstrate that collaborative approaches improve access for older people needing assistance and the wrap around service model works to provide the best level of support for victim survivors in the community,” said Smith.

Independent Evaluation Reports were recently released examining the ROSE and ELSA programs, operated by ECLC over the last three years.

The reports were launched by Attorney General Hon. Mark Dreyfus KC at Eastern Health and share lessons for service providers, advocate for the expansion of integrated elder abuse services and highlight systemic gaps that must be addressed, in order for elder abuse to be resolved.

“These reports highlight the importance of the integrated practice model and demonstrate how the partnerships between ECLC, Eastern Health and Oonah have been a key element to the success of ELSA and ROSE,” added Smith.

If you think you may be experiencing Elder Abuse or you need legal help and live in Naarm/Melbourne’s East – you can or call 1300 32 52 00, request an appointment at or visit for more information.