Our body of work in this reporting period highlighted Elder Abuse Action Australia’s growth as a national voice for action to eliminate the abuse and neglect of older people in Australia. This year is the result of investment by many people during the four years since our foundation.
In 2018, Elder Abuse Action Australia (EAAA) was established following consistent calls for a national organisation to represent members and the community.
The stellar achievement for EAAA during the year was the National Elder Abuse Conference,
Walk the Talk, co-hosted with our local partner, COTA Tasmania. Having delayed the conference by twelve months due to COVID, we staged a very successful hybrid conference over three days in February in Hobart.
Walk the Talk brought more than 400 delegates together in person and virtually. A careful risk management plan was implemented to ensure the conference was compliant with the requirements of the Tasmanian Government and was safe for our in-person delegates and speakers. There was much excitement and enthusiasm expressed by the in-person delegates while the virtual delegates enjoyed a seamless experience online. It reinforced the value of EAAA.
The third day of the conference, the EAAA Strategy and Action Plan Thinktank, was an opportunity for stakeholders to highlight priorities for the coming years and progress the conference’s ‘Call to Action’. The thinktank session built a sound foundation for the sector’s input to the Commonwealth Government in the form of a clearly articulated and comprehensive proposal, Our Nation’s Shame—A Sector Led engagement in the next National Plan to Respond to the Abuse of Older Australians. The summary report was endorsed by 24 organisations.
EAAA’s Compass.info has moved from strength to strength. Following a suite of changes to the website, expanding the Compass webinars programme and investing time and resources across social media activity, we have seen an impressive 375% increase in visitors. The Compass team driving these changes and increasing EAAA’s reach comprises Bev Lange, Leading Hand Design and Grade Creative.
EAAA would like to acknowledge the Australian Institute of Family Studies for its important work on the first National Elder Abuse Prevalence Study, released in December 2021. The study found that 15% of older Australians are victims of elder abuse each year. From a population of 4.2 million people aged over 65, this equates to 630,000 older Australians who experience abuse every year. The research findings will underpin the next National Plan. EAAA is calling for universal and equitable access to services so that all older people can obtain support across prevention, early intervention, response and recovery.
Our membership has grown, even under the adversity of limited face-to-face contact, to more than 100, and we look forward to significant growth in subsequent years as individuals and organisations lend their voice to eliminate the abuse and neglect of older people.
With renewed contracts from the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department for EAAA and Compass, we now begin our second four-year strategic plan towards ending the abuse and neglect of older people.
Despite our small staff, EAAA has achieved much. We particularly want to thank the team and the leadership, wisdom and enormous productivity of Bev Lange, the Executive Officer.
Diedre Timms was Co-Chair of EAAA for three-and-a-half years until stepping down at the last Annual General Meeting. Diedre’s contribution was immense, and her guidance is missed.
Thank you to EAAA’s Board members, Carolanne Barkla, Clinton Bright (Treasurer), Sue Leitch, Vicki Wood, Helen Wallace and Geoff Rowe for their commitment and contributions.
And finally, special acknowledgement is extended to the Commonwealth Attorney General’s
Department for its collaboration and commitment to the elimination of elder abuse, alongside the funding that allows EAAA to undertake this important work.
Russell Westacott and Jenny Blakey
YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE ANNUAL REPORT HERE: