26 September 2023

Central Coast elder abuse service opens

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Legal Aid NSW has launched a new service for elderly residents on the Central Coast to protect them from physical, psychological, financial and legal exploitation.

Senior solicitor at Legal Aid NSW and head of the Central Coast Elder Abuse Service, Mary Lovelock said it was the first such specialist service ever run by Legal Aid NSW.

“Elder abuse is defined as a single act, or series of acts, occurring within a relationship of trust that causes an older person harm or distress,” Ms Lovelock said.

“We chose to base ourselves on the Central Coast because it’s a region where there is a high number of older people, where there are high levels of disadvantage, and it is home to large population of older Aboriginal people,” she said.

“The service offers a holistic, culturally sensitive approach with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal staff trained in social work and law.”

Ms Lovelock said the service was based at the Gosford office of Legal Aid NSW and provided targeted assistance to older people identified as experiencing, or at risk of abuse.

“Many of our clients experience elder abuse and, due to health and mobility issues, may not have a way to connect to our services,” she said.

“Our partners who work with these clients play a big role in connecting older people to us.”

She said the service worked with eligible clients who ask for help directly, but also received referrals from a range of stakeholders including health services, mental health services, Centrelink, aged care providers and the NSW Trustee and Guardian.

Ms Lovelock said the Central Coast Elder Abuse Service was a three-year pilot program funded by the Commonwealth Government.

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