5th National Elder Abuse Conference
Together Making Change
February 19 and 20, 2018

Welcome to the 5th National Elder Abuse Conference – Together Making Change.

Australia’s first national elder abuse conference was held in Brisbane in 2012. About 40 delegates attended. Just six years later, we are hoping to have almost 500 delegates attend the 5th national conference.

Elder abuse in Australian society is increasingly gaining mainstream attention. It is a social issue that we now hear and read about in the media on an almost weekly basis. While we still have no reliable prevalence data in Australia to inform our work, we know that the communities and services we represent have growing demands to provide an adequate response to elder abuse.

That said, stigma and shame still create barriers and – on the whole – elder abuse remains a silent epidemic in our society. We need to work together to challenge these barriers and shine a spotlight on the issue. My hope is that the ‘Together Making Change’ conference will help provide a platform for that work.

The conference is taking place after a significant 18 months in Australia’s response to elder abuse. In 2017, the Australian Law Reform Commission handed down its report and recommendations on elder abuse after a rigorous and wide ranging national inquiry. Also last year, a number of high profile stories of neglect and abuse within our aged-care services led to two major inquiries focused on aged-care service delivery. And back in 2016, the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Elder Abuse tabled its report and recommendations to the state parliament.

These key developments engaged multiple stakeholders across Australia and provided policy-makers and governments with a sound framework to resource a meaningful, proactive response to elder abuse. It is now the role of the delegation at the 5th National Elder Abuse Conference to work together to coherently articulate its vision for that response. This conference provides an opportunity to create real change in 2018 and beyond.

Please join us at the conference and be an advocate for change.

Russell Westacott
Chief Executive Officer
Seniors Rights Service