In 2008, the Victorian Government embarked on a $5.9 million, four-year project to decrease the incidence and prevent further occurrence of older Victorians being abused by friends, family and others in a position of trust. The Elder Abuse Prevention Strategy was a whole-of-government initiative led by the Office of Senior Victorians (OSV) within DPCD.
SenateSHJ was engaged to develop a communication and engagement strategy that would reach out to and empower older Victorians. Our approach used highly trusted channels to take the message of empowerment to this group. Communication needed to take into account how willing and able individual older Victorians were to take action for themselves, and our strategy aimed to help older people progressively move to a higher level of understanding of elder abuse and gain the skills and capabilities they needed to stop it.
We received strong feedback from the government-appointed project manager tasked to implement the strategy that it was one of the best and clearest strategies put into action that they had encountered. The strategy’s storyline is still widely used and formed the basis of radio and print advertisements to launch a new support facility for older people. The measure of engagement with the community used by government was the community’s connection with the information line. It received 20 per cent more calls than anticipated, and many more calls than a previous information line. The government saw this as a strong outcome for the project.