Thursday, December 7, 2023

New protections for older deaf Victorians

Seniors Rights Victoria (SRV) has released a new range of resources designed to educate and support older Deaf Victorians dealing with issues of elder abuse.

Work between SRV and the John Pierce Centre (JPC) identified information gaps that existed within the Deaf community, and focused on the creation of materials to cater to those needs.

New pamphlets in English and elder abuse prevention videos in Auslan will help to assist those within the Deaf community to better understand their right to live a life free from abuse, what elder abuse is, and how to seek support.

SRV says the Auslan clips are the key resource as part of the project, and will reflect the information in the pamphlets – themselves titled “What happens when family or friends hurt you?” and “What happens when you cannot make choices in your life?”.

The videos will be uploaded to the JPC website and used on social media to spread the word in the Deaf community.

“Through these resources, the John Pierce Centre can provide a safe space for the Deaf community to learn about elder abuse, share their individual stories and seek tailored advice from professionals as appropriate,” said Katrina Mynard, Pastoral Care Coordinator at the John Pierce Centre.

The work was part of a larger project at JPC addressing elder abuse in the Deaf community, and joint effort to share knowledge and specialist training between the JPC and SRV. JPC staff have been trained to help identify at risk Deaf people and refer them on for assistance, while SRV employees have been trained in Deaf community awareness and are able to connect with clients using Auslan interpreters.

The work aligns with SRV’s commitment to better support the Deaf community with personalised and confidential support, and follows education sessions focused on Planning Ahead and navigating the Aged Care system.

“Staff from Seniors Rights Victoria appreciated the opportunity to learn about the Deaf community and its access needs,” says CEO of COTA Victoria, Chris Potaris.

“It’s important to acknowledge and assist this community of older Victorians who experience additional vulnerabilities.”

SRV says the organisations will continue to work together to promote these new resources throughout the Deaf community, create a referral pathway for Deaf community members to access support, and to provide additional information on more specific topics in the elder abuse space as required.

“It’s hoped these efforts will empower older Deaf people to better understand their rights and what can be done to safeguard themselves, and will be the first phase of a fruitful long-term relationship between COTA Victoria, Seniors Rights Victoria, and the John Pierce Centre in service of older members of the Deaf community.”

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