Rates of family violence have increased substantially since COVID-19, and older people are at significant risk of abuse due to the increased isolation, reduction of home based services and supports.
Perpetrators of violence chose their behaviours of control, violence and abuse and research has shown these behaviours increase during times of stress or anxiety. As a result, there is significant concern that family violence will increase as a result of COVID-19.
Older people are more at risk of family violence/elder abuse due to the reduction of services, increased isolation and increased anxiety related to their health status. Many children may be returning to their parent’s home, requesting money due to job loss and demanding grandchildren be cared for due to school closures.
What you can do to help?
- Call 000 if the older person is at risk of serious harm or is in a life- threatening situation.
- Try to stay connected to older people: promote visits with social distancing when you are able or consider alternative methods, such as phone contact, skype or text messages.
- Have open conversations with older people about any concerns you have. Make sure it is safe to do so and away from the perpetrator of violence.
- Complete basic risk assessments and safety planning for older people (refer to the flow chart below with examples of questions).
- Tell older people that support and services are still available, including family violence services. You can tell them about The Orange Door, Safe Steps, Senior Rights Vic, the Police, Elder Rights Advocacy, Better Place Australia and QLife (LGBTIQ support services).
- Refer the older person to services to reduce isolation and promote safety.
- Talk to your manager about any concerns you have.
- Talk to the LCHS Elder Abuse Liaison Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org) about any concerns you have, or seeking general advice. You do notneed client consent to report abuse.
- Understanding abuse, preventing abuse, responding to abuse, support directory and resources
- Includes information for diverse groups (including People who are LGBTIQ, Aboriginal &/ or Torres Strait Islander, CALD, people who have a Disability)
Read about Orange Door’s specialist family violence support.