Annual Report 2017-2018
                YOUR VOICE
                The purpose of Seniors Rights Service is to foster
                communities where older members of society are aware of,
                actively exercising, and defending their individual rights, in a
                society that respects and values older people and promotes
                and upholds their rights.

                In all of its endeavours, Seniors Rights Service will:
                • empower older people as rights holders and active
                  contributors to society
                • provide high-quality and timely service
                • provide access and equity in service to seniors, regardless
                  of race, colour, national or ethnic origin, gender, marital
                  status, disability, religion, political beliefs, sexual
                  preference, or other characteristic
                • support capacity development of staff to ensure they can
                  deliver high quality service
                • collaborate with other organisations in pursuit of
                  common goals
                • work with broader civil society to foster respect for older
                  members of society and their individual rights.

                Seniors Rights Service will prioritise engagement with older
                people who are:
                • disadvantaged and vulnerable
                • in regional, rural and remote locations
                • culturally and linguistically diverse
                • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
                • lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, other.

                Seniors Rights Service is a proud member of:

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ANNUAL REPORT                                                            2017 - 2018
CONTENTS                                                                                                                AT A GLANCE
President’s Report.....................................................................................6
Introducing Margaret Duckett............................................................7
Chief Executive Officer’s Report .....................................................8

Meet The Team: Staff Listing .............................................................10
                                                                                                                       At least
Meet The Team: Volunteers,

Reception & Intake ..................................................................................12

OUR LEGAL SERVICES............................................................................14
                                                                                                                                                                                               people from culturally
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               90%                 *
Legal Case Studies.....................................................................................21
OUR ADVOCACY SERVICES............................................................. 24                                  people contacted us for                                                 and linguistically diverse
Our Social Support Services................................................................31
                                                                                                                       advice in 2017-2018                             people attended         backgrounds attended
Regional Advocacy Report..................................................................32                                                                                                                                customer satisfaction
Central West...................................................................................................33      This was via phone, email, our                 education forums         education events
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            * Based on feedback from more
                                                                                                                       website and visits to our office.
South Coast................................................................................................... 34                                                        and related                                               than 1,600 clients.
Mid-North Coast......................................................................................... 35

Advocacy Case Studies...........................................................................37
OUR EDUCATION SERVICES............................................................40
Staff Presentations at 5th National
Elder Abuse Conference....................................................................... 49                      We helped clients with                                                   attendees at education

OUR COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA.....................................50                                                                                                 More than
Seniors Rights Service Media Room ............................................ 54                                                                                                              sessions identified as
Elder Abuse Action Australia ............................................................ 55
Insights and Perspectives
Video Project.................................................................................................57    issues involving suspected                      25%                        LGBTIQ+
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We provided
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            legal services to
Our Commitment to Customer Satisfaction............................ 58                                                 or actual elder abuse.                       of our aged care

5th National Elder Abuse Conference .........................................60
Final Conference Statement............................................................... 63
                                                                                                                    A client may have raised more than one issue.
                                                                                                                    For example, an older person may be subject
                                                                                                                                                                    advocacy services were
OUR PRIORITY POPULATIONS...................................................... 64                                         to both physical and financial abuse,     provided to people from
Our Work with Aboriginal and                                                                                                  which counts as two issues.
                                                                                                                                                                    our priority populations   attendees at education          older people
Torres Strait Islander People..............................................................66                                                                                                  events were Aboriginal
Our Work in Western Sydney............................................................. 67
Our Work with People from Culturally
                                                                                                                                                                                               or Torres Strait Islander
and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds....................................68
Our Work with older LGBTIQ+ people.....................................70
Our Work in Regional, Rural
and Remote NSW........................................................................................71
Our International Work........................................................................ 72
                                                                                                                       of alleged abusers were
                                                                                                                                                                       We provided
                                                                                                                                                                    advocacy services to
Global Presence at Conference.......................................................73
Some Media Coverage of Our Work.............................................74
                                                                                                                       the client’s son
                                                                                                                       or daughter                                      3,494
                                                                                                                                                                         recipients of
YEAR ENDED 30 JUNE 2018............................................................. 76
                                                                                                                                                                          aged care
Seniors Rights Service staff and Board gratefully acknowledge the
Gadigal People of the Eora Nation and their Elders past and present. Our
workplace is located on the grounds of these people and we thank them
for the custodianship of this land. Mid North Coast: Macquarie/Hastings
(Birpai), Kempsey (Dhungutti), Greater Taree (Birapai), Coffs Harbour
                                                                                                                       of alleged abusers were
(Gumbayngirr), Clarence Valley and Tweed (Bundjalung). South Coast:
Tharawal (South Coast Northern) and Yuin (South Coast Southern).                                                       the client’s spouse
Prior permission has been granted by each individual photographed for
use in this document.

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ANNUAL REPORT                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2017 - 2018

                                         Over the last six years, we’ve doubled    education and advocacy for older          establishment of Elder Abuse         INTRODUCING
                                         our staff, our revenue and our reach.     people who need to be supported           Action Australia (EAAA), a new       MARGARET DUCKETT
                                         The year-on-year growth has been          and empowered to stand up for             national peak body launched          I’m extremely pleased that my
                                         extremely pleasing, particularly in       their rights.                             in June that brings together         successor as president is my current
                                         such a tight fiscal period. And last                                                individuals and organisations        vice-president, Margaret Duckett.
                                                                                   One of the biggest achievements
                                         year, to have secured our funding                                                   working in elder abuse
                                                                                   in recent years is around the                                                  In Margaret, I am leaving Seniors
                                         for at least the next three years was                                               prevention and support services.
                                                                                   leadership we’ve shown, especially                                             Rights Service in steady and capable
                                         immensely satisfying.
                                                                                   in the development of OPAN, the           Through these developments           hands. She brings a lifetime’s
                                         When I first joined the board, when       Older Person’s Advocacy Network,          – and through the board              experience in both government
                                         Seniors Rights Service was still known    as a national organisation. Seniors       strengthening our governance         and non-government sectors,
                                         as TARS (The Aged-care Rights             Rights Service, and particularly our      processes and embedding quality      working at all levels and settings:
As I approach the end of my time         Service), we knew we were delivering      CEO Russell Westacott, was a key          improvement throughout the           international, regional, national,       program evaluations, developing
as president of Seniors Rights           good information and great service        player in bringing our counterparts                                            hospital and community.                  performance indicators, and
                                                                                                                             whole organisation – the planks
Service, it’s heartening to reflect      to those we reached but wanted to         in other states and territories                                                                                         facilitating practice reform in
                                                                                                                             are firmly in place for Seniors      Margaret has held senior positions
on the changes within the                be sure we were connecting with our       together to collaborate under one                                                                                       government and community
                                                                                                                             Rights Service to continue,          in both government and non-
organisation since I first joined        target audience, the 1.4 million older    banner. Through OPAN, of which I                                                                                        organisations across the world.
                                                                                                                             and to build on, our work into       government and provided
the board as treasurer in August         people in NSW. To that end, in 2015 we    am and will continue to be inaugural                                                                                    On a personal level, from 2010-2016
                                                                                                                             the future.                          consultancy services in governance
2012, going on to become president       changed our name to Seniors Rights        chair, we won the tender to deliver                                                                                     Margaret was the primary carer for
                                                                                                                             I would like to thank Russell        in Australia and internationally.
in 2013. Those changes have seen         Service and also developed the 2020       the National Aged Care Advocacy                                                                                         her mother, which gave her a greater
                                                                                                                                                                  Some key roles have included CEO,
Seniors Rights Service strengthen,       Strategic Plan, which provided a clear,   Program. Crucially, about half our        for trusting us as a board and                                                understanding of, and empathy for,
                                                                                                                                                                  Australian Foundation for Peoples of
mature and extend our reach and          consistent vision for the coming years.   funding comes through that and has        trusting our agenda. At times                                                 the challenges older people and
                                                                                                                                                                  Asia and the Pacific; Director, Office
influence around New South Wales         It was far more than a rebranding; it     allowed us to open up much-needed         we have pushed him and other                                                  their carers face.
                                                                                                                                                                  for Ageing, Department of Ageing,
and Australia.                           was a regrounding, an opportunity to      additional advocacy services in           senior managers to take extra
                                                                                                                                                                  Disability and Home Care; Director       Margaret has been on the board of
                                         re-examine our purpose, principles        regional NSW. The first, in the Central   steps forward that might have
                                                                                                                                                                  Health Development Division,             Seniors Rights Service since 2015
                                         and priority populations, and to          West, based in Dubbo, opened in           been challenging. But they’ve        NSW Cancer Council; Adviser              and deputy president since 2016.
                                         embed our philosophy as to why            February 2018, with two more – in the     taken that on and that’s been very   and Consultant, UNAIDS, UNDP,            In 2017-18, at the launch of Seniors
                                         we were here and who we were              South West of NSW and the Far North       much appreciated and we are a        WHO and IOM; Visiting Scholar/           Rights Service’s video resource kits
                                         here for. That is: to provide advice,     Coast of NSW – opening in 2018-19.        stronger organisation because of     Associate Professor, McGill Centre       on elder abuse (see separate story),
                                                                                   Russell has also shown incredible         his leadership.                      for Medicine, Ethics and the Law,        Margaret was among those who
                                                                                   leadership, supported by the board,       As I take my leave, I’m              Canada; Specialist Adviser HIV/AIDS,     shared their wealth of knowledge
                                                                                   on the issue of abuse of older people.    enormously proud that people         Australian Department of Health.         in a panel discussion.
                                                                                    The crowning glory of that was           now regard Seniors Rights            From 1996 to 2004, Margaret was          I know Margaret will take on the
                                                                                      the 5th National Elder Abuse                                                on the board of North Sydney Area
                                                                                                                             Service as a leader in the areas                                              challenges of being president calmly
                                                                                        Conference, which we hosted in                                            Health Service (NSAHS) and from
                                           “Looking ahead, I see the                                                         of older people’s rights and legal                                            and efficiently.
                                                                                         Sydney in February. As I gave                                            2002 was deputy chair. In that role,
                                                                                                                             services, and the prevention of
                                      organisation continuing to expand                    the closing address at the                                             she oversaw the operation of all
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Elaine Leong, as proposed vice-
                                                                                                                             elder abuse. Looking ahead, I see
                                      our reach to every older person in                    conference, I was extremely
                                                                                                                             the organisation continuing to       services within NSAHS, involving
                                                                                                                                                                                                           president, has a background in
                                            NSW and their families.                         proud to stand up there and                                                                                    law and as a company secretary,
                                                                                                                             expand our reach to every older      services for one million people,
                                                                                            see what our relatively small                                                                                  and is very strong on corporate
                                                                                                                             person in NSW and their families.    an annual budget of $600 million,
                                      “That is my vision for Seniors Rights                 organisation had been able                                            seven public general hospitals, one
                                                                                                                                                                                                           governance as well.
                                      Service: that not everyone needs to                   to achieve in mounting the       That is my vision for Seniors        public psychiatric hospital and 23       Under their combined leadership,
                                       use us, but everyone knows we’re                    world’s largest gathering         Rights Service: that not everyone    community health services.               Seniors Rights Service will continue
                                                                                         on the mistreatment of older        needs to use us but everyone                                                  to be a great organisation. I wish
                                             there in case they do.”                                                                                              Her consultancy and management
                                                                                        people and its prevention.           knows we’re there in case they do.                                            Margaret, Elaine and the other board
                                                                                                                                                                  background has given her a
                                                                                     Russell and the organisation                                                                                          members all the very best.
                                                                                                                             Craig Gear                           depth of experience in setting
                                                                                   were also instrumental in the             President, Seniors Rights Service    strategic directions, undertaking        Craig Gear

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ANNUAL REPORT                                                                                                                                                                                                                           2017 - 2018

                                                                                                                                                                                                             Over this reporting period,
                                                                                                                                                                                                             we held events across NSW
                                      I’m delighted to report that in 2017-       for the Commonwealth Attorney-            prevention and support services.           From this community-
                                      2018, we added to our existing NSW          General, Hon Christian Porter MP, to      Memberships traverse the legal,            led strategy event,
                                                                                                                                                                                                          specifically focusing on the abuse
                                      regional locations on the Mid-North         announce funding for a national plan      health, social work and other sectors. I   52 organisations                      of older people. More than

                                      Coast and the South Coast with a new        to tackle the problem. The national       am honoured to be co-chair of the new      endorsed the final
                                      staff member in the Central West,           strategy will ensure we address the       body, along with Deidre Timms, the         report titled The
                                      based in Dubbo. The new service,            issue effectively across the country,     CEO of Advocare in Western Australia.      Abuse of Older
                                      which opened on February 1, is              with all stakeholders operating           Other directors include Jenny Blakey       People: A Community
                                      giving us greater reach across the          within a sound framework. This will       from Seniors Rights Victoria, Scott        Response. Among
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  people attended
                                      region, particularly among Aboriginal       guarantee that various strategies are     McDougall from the Caxton Legal            those organisations were                    those events.
                                      communities in the state’s west.            complementary and that, as a nation,      Centre in Queensland and Carolanne         peak groups representing
                                                                                  we can offer a best-practice response     Barkla from Aged Rights Advocacy           Indigenous people, culturally and
                                      In the current financial year, two more
                                                                                  to this appalling social issue. Seniors   Service in South Australia.                linguistically diverse communities,
The last year has been extremely      NSW locations have opened – the
                                                                                  Rights Service looks forward to being                                                and LGBTIQ+ communities, as well as
positive and exciting for Seniors     first in South West NSW, a region with                                                As a newly emerging organisation,
                                                                                  part of building and designing this                                                  many other peak agencies. It was quite
Rights Service. The organisation      a sizeable elderly population from                                                    EAAA has much work to do, including
                                                                                  national plan via consultations and                                                  an achievement to reach consensus          reveals they are at risk of abuse but
continues to be on a pathway of       culturally and linguistically diverse                                                 the co-design – with the Attorney-
                                                                                  also enhancing service delivery to the                                               across such a large and diverse range      not necessarily within the context of
significant growth and we have been   backgrounds; and the second on the                                                    General’s Department – of an elder
                                                                                  thousands we already serve.                                                          of organisations.                          their aged care service.
able to establish a much stronger     Far North Coast, home to many older                                                   abuse “knowledge hub”, which will be a
presence across regional New          people from LGBTIQ+ communities.            In total, the Attorney-General has        sophisticated, well-resourced one-stop     The report was released via webcast        Before closing, I want to make special
South Wales. Central to this new                                                  committed $37 million over the            online portal for the community and        in May by the Age Discrimination           mention of Seniors Rights Service
                                      It is very pleasing to be able to say       coming years for new services, a          those working in this field.
opportunity was the creation of the                                                                                                                                    Commissioner, Hon Dr Kay Patterson         president Craig Gear, who will step
national Older Persons Advocacy       that Seniors Rights Service truly           prevalence study, health/justice
                                                                                                                            On June 15, Seniors Rights Service’s       AO, and the Secretary General of the       down from his position in November.
Network (OPAN) in 2017. This          has a statewide presence and is             partnerships and elder abuse staff
                                                                                                                            new media room was also the setting        International Federation of Ageing,        Craig and I came to Seniors Rights
resulted in additional resources to   now more able to reach our priority         within some existing community legal
                                                                                                                            for the launch of a compelling series      Dr Jane Barratt. The report and its        Service at around the same time,
provide on-the-ground aged care       populations regardless of their             centres. Seniors Rights Service will be
                                                                                                                            of videos featuring 18 key speakers        preceding consultation process             me in early 2011 and him the
advocacy services to recipients of    geographic location.                        proud to play a role on multiple fronts
                                                                                                                            from February’s conference sharing         – before and during the national           following year, first as treasurer,
Commonwealth-funded aged care         Another major success for our               in the coming years to ensure our                                                    conference – is regarded as a best-
                                                                                                                            their expertise around the abuse of                                                   then as president in 2013. He has
residential services and home care    organisation in 2017-2018 was the 5th       current awareness and prevention                                                     practice community engagement
                                                                                                                            older people and how to prevent it.                                                   been a fantastic chair and one of the
packages across the state.            National Elder Abuse Conference,            efforts are expanded and support                                                     exercise. It has been presented to
                                                                                                                            The video resource kits, produced                                                     strengths behind the growth and clear
                                      which Seniors Rights Service hosted         services grow. It is vital that Seniors                                              federal and state governments and
                                                                                                                            by Seniors Rights Service, were                                                       vision of Seniors Rights Service in
                                      in Sydney in February 2018. Going           Rights Service adequately meets the                                                  key policymakers, and in July 2018
                                                                                                                            created from interviews conducted                                                     recent years.
                                      way beyond expectations, the                challenge of supporting the current                                                  I presented it at the 9th session of the
                                                                                                                            by journalist Ellen Fanning on the
                                      conference attracted around 570             unmet need of vulnerable older                                                       United Nations’ Open-Ended Work            He has also been supported by a very
                                                                                                                            sidelines of the conference, and
                                      delegates, with another 500 people          people in the community.                                                                                                        talented and creative board, which
                                                                                                                            were launched via a live webcast by        Group on Ageing in New York.
                                      attending satellite events. Mainstream                                                                                                                                      offers vital strategic direction and
                                                                                  In addition, some funding was also        the NSW Minister for Ageing, Hon           Seniors Rights Service was delighted
                                      media coverage over the few days of                                                                                                                                         smooth governance. I look forward to
                                                                                  provided for a new overarching peak       Tanya Davies MP.                           to be able to expand its services in       that continuing under the leadership
                                      the conference was strong. Both the         body, Elder Abuse Action Australia
                                                                                                                            One of the most exciting parts of the      2017-2018 to include a new support         of Craig’s successor, Margaret
                                      media engagement and the broad              (EAAA), which was officially launched
                                                                                                                            national conference was the Day 3          position. This came about due to           Duckett.
                                      attendance base demonstrated that           with a live webcast from Seniors
                                                                                                                            strategy event hosted by Seniors           dedicated elder abuse funding from
                                      this often-hidden social issue is finally   Rights Service’s new media room on                                                                                              It has been a pleasure to work
                                                                                                                            Rights Service, which brought together     the Commonwealth Department of
                                      losing its taboo status and is being        June 14. It was one of two events we                                                                                            alongside Craig, the board, staff,
                                                                                                                            70 community leaders representing          Health and was directed to all OPAN
                                      addressed across multiple sectors.          hosted to mark World Elder Abuse                                                                                                volunteers and other colleagues in
                                                                                                                            more than 50 organisations. The            member organisations. This new role
                                                                                  Awareness Day, and the Attorney-                                                                                                the legal and aged care sectors. I am
                                      The conference came at a pivotal                                                      aim was to get broad consensus             means that aged care advocates, who
                                                                                  General was the keynote speaker.                                                                                                excited about what lies ahead.
                                      time in Australia’s response to the                                                   on key issues in order to create a         are not trained to deal with abuse
                                      abuse of older people. With the             EAAA provides a national voice for a      “blueprint” for government outlining       issues that fall outside of aged care,     Russell Westacott
                                      issue steadily gaining momentum,            growing network of organisations and      the community sector’s priorities for      can refer a client internally to the       Chief Executive Officer,
                                      the conference provided a platform          individuals working in elder abuse        the national plan to tackle elder abuse.   specialist support worker if the client    Seniors Rights Service

8                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         9
ANNUAL REPORT                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   2017 - 2018

Pictured above are some of our team from the Sydney office.
Over the page you will see other members of the team, including those from our regional locations.

Russell Westacott                                  Legal                                             Advocacy                          Volunteer Board as at June 30, 2018      benefits to our clients. We are very     Brianne Perera
Chief Executive Officer                                                                                                                                                         grateful for the contributions of        Carolina Perdulovska
                                                   Tom Cowen                                         Pat Joyce                         Craig Gear, Board President, MBA, BN,
                                                                                                                                                                                every staff member involved, and
Reception and Intake                               Manager Legal Service,                            Manager Advocacy                  MN (Critical Care), CGA Consulting                                                Holly Schuster
                                                                                                                                                                                particularly thank the pro bono
                                                   Principal Solicitor                                                                                                                                                   Kajol Segran
Sue Rogers-Harrison                                                                                  Margaret Crothers                 Barbara Anderson, BA, MA                 coordinators for their assistance in
Reception/Administrative Support                   Jennifer Smythe                                   Regional Coordinator, Advocate/                                            organising each program.                 Margaret Small
                                                                                                                                       Margaret Duckett, BSc, MSc (Med),
                                                   Assistant Principal Solicitor                     Education Officer                                                                                                   Jenny Templeman
Janette Fitzgerald                                                                                                                     MScSoc, FAICD                            The following individual volunteers
Intake Officer                                     Kim Boettcher            Solicitor                Ray Horsburgh                                                              and student interns have also offered    Mahishi Wimaladharma
                                                                                                                                       Elaine Leong, BA LLB, BA Comms (Hon),
                                                                                                     Advocate/Education Officer                                                 invaluable assistance during the year.
Carolina Perdulovska                               Melissa Chaperlin        Solicitor                                                  Grad Dip Legal Prac, GAICD                                                        Funders
Reception/Intake                                                                                     Kate Kennedy                                                               Ashley Dana
                                                   Trevor Collier           Solicitor                                                  David Puls, MBA (Distinction), BBus                                               We gratefully acknowledge and
                                                                                                     Social Worker                                                              Tony Do
Charmian Powell                                                                                                                        (Law), Recovering Lawyer                                                          thank the following funders. Without
                                                   Stephen Etkind           Solicitor
Reception                                                                                            Jill McDonnell                                                             Jennifer Doria                           the support of these funding bodies,
                                                                                                                                       Maureen Walsh, Community
                                                   Rosalie Gibson           Solicitor                Advocate/Education Officer                                                 Matthew Fernandez                        Seniors Rights Service would not be
Organisation Support                                                                                                                   Representative
                                                   Mary Hawkins             Solicitor                                                                                           Andrew Gouveia                           able to achieve its goals.
                                                                                                     Jenny Samuels
Stella She                                                                                                                             We gratefully acknowledge the service                                             Commonwealth Department of
                                                   Robert Lollbach          Solicitor                Advocate/Education Officer                                                 Kate Kennedy
Financial Controller                                                                                                                   of Patti Warn and Amanda Terranova,                                               Health
                                                                                                     Shanel Tighe                      who both retired from the board during   Arjun Lamba
Bernadette English                                 Nalika Padmasena Solicitor                                                                                                                                            Older Persons Advocacy Network
                                                                                                     Advocate/Education Officer        the 2017-2018 financial year.            Jenny Lin
Finance/Administrative Support                     Charlotte Steer          Solicitor                                                                                                                                    (OPAN)
                                                                                                     Education                         Volunteers and Pro Bono Support          Thomas Linnane
Christine Ai                                                                                                                                                                                                             Legal Aid NSW
                                                   Tim Tunbridge            Solicitor
Policy & Quality Improvement                                                                         Diana Bernard                     We thank the law firms Baker             Christine Logan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         NSW Fair Trading
Coordinator, Company Secretary                     Christine Ai             Solicitor                Manager Education and             McKenzie, Clayton Utz, Hall & Wilcox,    Irene Madden
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Family & Community Services NSW
                                                                                                     Community Services                Holding Redlich, and Wotton +            Tarun Mahajan
Jane Polkinghorne
                                                                                                                                       Kearney for their ongoing generosity     Carolina Mazza
Manager Communications and Media
                                                                                                                                       in providing pro bono support to
Thomas Linnane                                                                                                                                                                  Lalitha Nair
                                                                                                                                       our organisation. These pro bono
Communications & Media Assistant                                                                                                       partnerships provide enormous            Halil Ozbeyazli

10                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              11
ANNUAL REPORT                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2017-2018

          At least

25,000people contacted
                           SENIORS RIGHTS SERVICE
                                                                     indispensable that he now works
                                                                     with us part-time, helping out with
                                                                                                                  Carolina says: “As I’m the first point of
                                                                                                                  contact for clients, I’m gaining skills all
                                                                                                                                                                weekly pro bono Telephone Advice
                                                                                                                                                                Clinic. Some Seniors Rights Service
                                                                                                                                                                                                            THE RECEPTION AND
                                                                                                                                                                                                            INTAKE TEAM
                                                                     publications, managing our website           the time. I’m able to provide them with       clients have been able to benefit from
     our team for advice   Volunteers are the backbone of                                                                                                                                                   If volunteers are the backbone of
                           our organisation, contributing their      and organising events.                       social support and practise speaking          ongoing pro bono legal assistance           Seniors Rights Service, the reception
        in 2017-2018                                                                                              with them.                                    from these firms, or from Clayton Utz,
                           time, enthusiasm and expertise to         Says Tom: “Doing media in a                                                                                                            and intake team are the heart,
                           assist Seniors Rights Service staff and                                                                                              our newest pro bono partner.                handling at least 100 contacts a
                                                                     community legal centre is the perfect         “Because we deal with elderly
                           our clients.                                                                           clients, I know I’m sometimes the first       Wotton + Kearney partner Heidi              day via phone, email or our website
                                                                     work experience for my two degrees.
                                                                                                                  person they’ve spoken to in the day.          Nash-Smith says the lawyers and             contact page. The intake staff have
                           In 2017-18, a rich assortment of          The work we do here is so interesting
                                                                                                                                                                interns who assist with the clinics in      initial discussions with new clients
                           students, lawyers, legal interns,         and so important. Even though I              So if I have time, I always try to stay
                                                                                                                                                                areas such as wills, powers of attorney,    then refer them to the appropriate
                           former staff, and members of the          don’t do legal work, I sit amongst           on the phone, making even small
                                                                                                                                                                guardianship and elder abuse, find the      Seniors Rights Service staff
                           public helped out with legal advice,      solicitors and it’s inspiring. If I pursue   conversation. Just being able to speak
                                                                                                                                                                work invaluable.                            member, or to an external service
                           research, media and communications,       law, being a solicitor in a community        to someone is so important.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                            if they need help that we cannot
                           one-off events, reception and intake,     legal centre could be a good avenue,                                                       As one intern explains: “Pro bono
                                                                                                                  In addition to the student volunteers is                                                  provide. Reception also provides
                           and more.                                 because it’s about helping people at                                                       forms a useful and meaningful part
                                                                                                                  the vital pro bono work carried out by                                                    administrative support for all Seniors
                                                                     the ground level.”                                                                         of a lawyer’s practice and has the
                           A number of volunteers have gone on                                                    a growing number of commercial law                                                        Rights Service staff in Sydney and
                                                                                                                                                                added benefit of stretching lawyers
                           to paid employment within Seniors                                                      firms, which this year included Baker                                                     around NSW. We are very grateful for
                                                                     Carolina Perdulovska is a 22-year-old                                                      outside of their usual day-to-day field.
                           Rights Service.                                                                        McKenzie, Holding Redlich, Hall &                                                         their work and that of our volunteers.
                                                                     social work student at the University                                                      The clinic provides access to different
                                                                     of Western Sydney. Her 400-hour              Wilcox and Wotton + Kearney.
                           Tom Linnane, a 20-year-old media                                                                                                     types of clients, with different types of
                           and law student at the University of      work placement at Seniors Rights             Lawyers from these firms, as well as          issues, and it is incredibly rewarding
                           NSW, began as a communications            Service in early 2018 led to an offer        two final-year law students, interns          to help those who may otherwise go
                           intern in 2017, making himself so         of a part-time reception/intake role.        at Wotton + Kearney, assist with the          without assistance.”

12                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               13
ANNUAL REPORT                                                                                                                                                                                                                             2017 - 2018

14                   15
ANNUAL REPORT   2017-2018

This year, the legal division of Seniors   There has been high demand for             DURING THE 2017-2018                      Committee, which was set up               TOP 15 ISSUES RAISED BY CLIENTS – GENERAL LEGAL SERVICE
Rights Service has again experienced       legal services all year, with a distinct   FINANCIAL YEAR, LEGAL                     by Fair Trading NSW to assist
expansion and change. The scope            increase after the 5th National Elder      SERVICES:                                 with changes to the Act and               WILLS AND ESTATES
of our Strata Collective Sales and         Abuse Conference in February.              Received 2,974 inquiries                  regulations governing retirement          POWER OF ATTORNEY
Advocacy Service expanded to cover         Conference-related publicity around                                                  villages in NSW in response to the
                                                                                      Referred 752 callers to the most                                                    GUARDIANSHIP
all types of strata inquiries, and the     the issue of the abuse of older people                                               Greiner report.
service changed its name to become         has led to more calls about this issue.    suitable service for their needs                                                    FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENT
                                                                                                                                We initiated and drafted the
the Strata Legal Service. Two new          These calls tend to involve more           Gave legal advice to 1,640 callers                                                  CONSUMER LAW
                                                                                                                                National Association of Community
part-time solicitors were employed         complex legal issues that may require
                                                                                      Provided 145 callers with legal           Legal Centres (NACLC) submission          TRIBUNAL – NCAT ET AL                                  This chart shows
and a new senior solicitor position        solicitors to examine documents                                                                                                                                                  the 15 most common
                                                                                      information                               to the Parliamentary Standing
was created.                               and provide follow-up assistance,                                                                                              ELDER ABUSE (FINANCIAL)                              legal issues raised
                                                                                                                                Committee on Health, Aged Care
                                           thus increasing demand on the legal        Represented 31 new clients in court,                                                                                                      by clients of each
                                                                                                                                and Sport’s Inquiry into the Quality      CREDIT AND DEBT
                                           service. Clients suffering elder abuse     tribunal or other matters                                                                                                           legal service. Financial
                                                                                                                                of Care in Residential Aged Care
                                           have benefited from Seniors Rights                                                                                             NEIGHBOUR DISPUTES                           arrangements and issues
                                                                                      Undertook 172 discrete legal tasks        Facilities in Australia. Seniors Rights
                                           Service solicitors being able to work                                                                                          FAMILY LAW                                concerning wills and estates,
                                                                                      for clients, such as writing letters or   Service proposed new legislation
                                           together with our newly appointed                                                                                                                                        enduring powers of attorney
                                                                                      reviewing documents                       affording aged care residents the         TENANCY
                                           social worker to provide integrated                                                                                                                                    and guardianship are the three
                                                                                                                                same type of rights and remedies as                                                 most common issues for the
                                           legal and social support.                  Worked on 5 law reform projects                                                     STRATA TITLE/COMMUNITY TITLE
                                                                                                                                those enjoyed by tenants of rental                                                          general legal service.
                                                                                      Offered multiple legal education          properties and retirement villages,       LAW/REGULATION/RIGHTS
                                                                                      sessions across NSW (see separate         particularly the right to obtain
                                                                                      Education Services report)                tribunal orders for compensation
                                                                                                                                or orders compelling an aged care         CONTRACT BREACH
                                                                                      We made a detailed submission to
                                                                                      the review of the New South Wales         facility to do (or refrain from doing)
                                                                                      Guardianship Act, stating our position    a particular thing.
                                                                                      on proposed changes to the law            We made a submission to                   TOP 15 ISSUES RAISED BY CLIENTS – RETIREMENT VILLAGE
                                                                                      that would see a change towards a         the Australian Law Reform
                                                                                      supported decision-making model.                                                    AGREEMENT/CONTRACT
                                                                                                                                Commission’s review into
                                                                                      In our submission, Seniors Rights         Family Law. We drew the                   REASONABLE PEACE & COMFORT
                                                                                      Service highlighted the particularly      commission’s attention to the
                                                                                      vulnerable position of older people       need for grandparents to be better
                                                                                      who lose capacity late in life.           recognised in the family law system       TENURE
                                                                                      We noted that the fluctuating nature      and also raised the issue of financial    REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE
                                                                                      of age-related dementia combined          contributions by a parent to a
                                                                                      with a model where decision-                                                        RESIDENT COMMITTEE-RESIDENT’S RIGHTS
                                                                                                                                child’s home that subsequently
                                                                                      making capacity was assessed on a         became the subject of a family law        BUDGET
                                                                                      decision-specific basis could enable      property dispute.
                                                                                                                                                                          VACATION OF PREMISES
                                                                                      a dishonest attorney to disclaim
                                                                                                                                We lodged a submission to                 SERVICES & FACILITIES
                                                                                      responsibility for decisions that
                                                                                                                                Consumer Affairs Australia and
                                                                                      would otherwise have been                                                           EXPLORING OPTIONS                                   For the Retirement
                                                                                                                                New Zealand’s consumer law
                                                                                      improper for them to make on                                                                                                         Village Legal Service,
                                                                                                                                review, supporting changes to the         MANAGEMENT                                        the most commonly
                                                                                      behalf of the older person.
                                                                                                                                consumer law so that it covers                                                                  raised issues are
                                                                                      Seniors Rights Service made two                                                     DEPARTURE FEE CALCULATION
                                                                                                                                more expensive purchases (up                                                                   problems with the
                                                                                      submissions to the Greiner review         to $100,000 from $40,000) and             DISCLOSURE, REPRESENTATIONS, PROMISES        resident agreement, fees
                                                                                      of the NSW retirement village sector      provides better protection to                                                           and charges, tenure and
                                                                                      and is currently participating in the     consumers whose items suffer                                                             breaches of reasonable
                                                                                      Retirement Village Consultative           repeated minor failures, as well as       VILLAGE RULES                                      peace and comfort.

16                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           17
ANNUAL REPORT                                                                                                                                                                                                                         2017 - 2018
We provided                               increased clarity around extended             with the pro bono clinic and other

     legal services to
                                                 warranties and an extension of
                                                 consumer guarantees to cover goods
                                                 bought at auction.
                                                                                               legal tasks.
                                                                                               We also gratefully acknowledge
                                                                                               the assistance of the NSW Bar
                                                 We continued to maintain our                  Association, which has helped us
       older people                              contributions to the retirement               obtain pro bono counsel for advice
         in 2017-18                              village and aged care topics in Legal         and appearance on behalf of our
                                                 Aid’s Legal Topics for Older People           clients in Supreme Court and other
                                                 2018 Diary.                                   complex matters.
                                                 Our pro bono partnerships continue            Seniors Rights Service continued its
                                                 to prove valuable. Solicitors from            strong commitment to community
                                                 four commercial law firms – Baker             education, conducting sessions
                                                 McKenzie, Holding Redlich, Hall &             across NSW for a range of groups,
                                                 Wilcox and Wotton + Kearney – have            including retirement village residents
                                                 participated in our weekly pro bono           and many culturally and linguistically
                                                                                                                                                  to expand our engagement with
                                                 clinics. Some of our clients have been        diverse groups. Interesting highlights
                                                                                                                                                  Indigenous communities, and remain
                                                 able to benefit from ongoing pro bono         included hosting information stalls
                                                                                                                                                  involved with the Good Service Mob,
                                                 legal assistance from these firms,            at the Mardi Gras Fair Day and
                                                                                                                                                  the Community Legal Centres NSW
                                                 or from Clayton Utz, our newest pro           the Royal Easter Show in Sydney,
                                                                                                                                                  Aboriginal Legal Access Program and
                                                 bono partner. We have also greatly            as well as trips to Albury and the
                                                                                                                                                  the Aboriginal Tenancy Advice and
                                                 appreciated the assistance of two             North Coast to conduct sessions in
                                                                                                                                                  Advocacy Service.
                                                 interns from Wotton + Kearney. These          retirement villages in conjunction
                                                 final-year law students come to our           with the Retirement Village Residents              Jennifer Smythe
                                                 offices one morning a week, helping           Association. We have also continued                Assistant Principal Solicitor

     Legal Service Work Type 2017-18                                                      Type of Legal Inquiry                                  Legal Clients Who Identify with a Specific Group        Legal Inquiries by Age
                                                                                                                                                 Top 15 Issues Raised by Clients – Retirement Villages

                      Legal Advice                              1640
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     96 and over    1%
                      Legal Inquiry: Referral                   752                                                                                                       CALD                   82%
                                                                                                     Older Persons Legal Service (OPLS)   2292                                                                       86 to 95       14%
                      Legal Task (Complex)                      172                                                                                                       Dementia               12%
                                                                                                     Retirement Village                   567                                                                        76 to 85       33%
                      Legal Information                         145                                                                                                       LGBTIQ+                2%
                                                                                                     Strata                               107                                                                        66 to 75       38%
                      Legal Inquiry: Unable to Contact Caller   90                                                                                                        A&TSI                  2%
                                                                                                     Other                                8                                                                          56 to 65       13%
                      Legal Representation: Court Tribunal      22                                                                                                        War Veteran (DVA)      2%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     55 and under   2%
                      Legal Representation: Other               9

18                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               19
ANNUAL REPORT                                                                                                                                                                                                                             2017 - 2018

                CASE STUDY 1                                  worker has also been involved in this        development application until full fire
                                                              matter, helping the client come to           compliance was effected and certified.
                Ron* lives in a strata scheme that
                                                              terms with the prospect of moving.           The owners’ corporation was also
                includes more than 40 lots. The strata
                                                                                                           having increasing difficulty in obtaining
                committee used money from the
                                                                                                           insurance because of the building’s
                capital works fund to engage experts          CASE STUDY 3
                                                                                                           poor condition. Dot complained that,
                to provide reports and advice on a            Gina* wanted to know how to separate         as a pensioner, she could not afford the
                collective sale of the entire scheme.         from her husband, with whom she              levies that would necessarily be struck
                The committee engaged three real              runs a business, without paying for          to cover the extensive work required.
                estate agents to provide presentations        a lawyer or going to court. Seniors
                at an extraordinary general meeting                                                        We advised Dot that the work had to
                                                              Rights Service warned her of the
                (EGM) on finding a developer to buy                                                        be done, and that she should vote for
                                                              risks of informal and undocumented
                the scheme. The EGM was also to                                                            the finance option being presented by
                                                              arrangements and strongly
                vote on a resolution to “consider the                                                      the strata committee that would allow
                                                              encouraged her to see a specialist
                facilitation of the sale of the lots in the                                                the longest payback time and come
                                                              family lawyer. We explained that
                strata scheme on a collective basis...”                                                    to an arrangement about paying in
                                                              this way, all financial arrangements
                                                                                                           instalments. We suggested she seek
                Seniors Rights Service advised Ron            around the separation could be
                                                                                                           financial advice on whether a reverse
                that unless 100 per cent of lot owners        checked and made binding through
                                                                                                           mortgage or the Centrelink Pension
                agreed to any future proposal for a           court orders and title transfer. We
                                                                                                           Loans Scheme would be a suitable way
                collective sale as put by an as-yet-          told Gina that some lawyers will help
                                                                                                           to raise the money she needed.
                unidentified developer, the owners’           clients resolve their family law matters
                corporation of the strata scheme              through collaborative practice. This
                and the developer must comply with            is the process of choice when neither        CASE STUDY 5
                the provisions of the Strata Schemes          litigation nor mediation quite fit the
                                                                                                           Cath* rang because she was worried
                Development Act 2015, which sets              bill. It is a dispute resolution process
                                                                                                           about the price she was being offered
                out a lengthy and detailed process            in which the clients and their lawyers
                                                                                                           for her home of 30 years, which was
                for collective sales. We told Ron that,       enter into a contract (participation
                                                                                                           subject to a collective redevelopment
                considering he had said there were            agreement) to negotiate an outcome
                                                                                                           proposal. The suggested price given
                at least five lot owners who were             without resorting to litigation. We
                                                                                                           for her unit would not be enough for
                against any collective sale, he and           referred her to the collaborative
                                                                                                           her to find somewhere equivalent.
                they should ensure they attended              practitioners list available through the
                                                                                                           Seniors Rights Service reviewed the
                the EGM in order to vote against the          Law Society of NSW.
                                                                                                           documents Cath provided and advised
                proposed resolution.                                                                       her that the minutes of the last meeting
                                                              CASE STUDY 4                                 of the owners’ corporation showed
                CASE STUDY 2                                  Dot* lives in a 1960s block of 20
                                                                                                           approval for the costs of independent
                                                                                                           legal advice and independent valuation
                Seniors Rights Service has been               units. The block had not been well
                                                                                                           were to be met by the developers. We
                providing a great deal of assistance          maintained and was literally falling
                                                                                                           told her this meant she could get her
                to a client who is a long-term                apart. It needed major repairs to
                                                                                                           own valuation done at the developer’s
                resident of a retirement village that         common property, including all
                                                                                                           cost, and referred her to several private
                is subject to redevelopment. We               exterior windows and ground-level
                                                                                                           lawyers specialising in this area of strata
                have assisted in negotiations with            garages. In addition, considerable
                                                                                                           law. Our caller was able to choose a
                the village operator, who has agreed          work was needed to ensure the fire
                                                                                                           lawyer to protect her interests.
                to fund accommodation in a nearby             safety compliance of the interior doors
                retirement village for the client, as well    and windows facing into the only             *All client names and identifying
                as cover the cost of packing, removals        stairwell. This was essential as the local   details have been changed to
                and new furniture. Our social support         council had refused to approve any           preserve confidentiality.

20                                                                                                                                                21
ANNUAL REPORT                                                                                                                              2017 - 2018

                CASE STUDY 6                               concerned that they may have been          CASE STUDY 9
                                                           shredded. We advised him to write to
                John* was provided with a disclosure                                                  Angie* rang seeking information
                                                           the bank officer concerned and if this
                statement by an onsite sales                                                          about what help her mother could
                                                           did not resolve the situation, to follow
                representative when he made                                                           obtain. Her mother had authorised
                                                           up with a complaint to the bank’s
                inquiries about moving into a                                                         her other daughter, Jessica*, to be
                                                           complaints team and the Financial
                retirement village. That statement said                                               a signatory on her bank account.
                                                           Ombudsman Service.
                that various facilities, including                                                    Unfortunately, Jessica had a drug
                an in-ground swimming pool, would          We also explained that he could            addiction and withdrew large sums
                be provided as the staged                  contact NSW Land Registry Services         from her mother’s account in $2,000
                development proceeded.                     to find out how much it cost to get a      and $3,000 lots, and spent the funds
                                                           copy of the deeds, then ask the bank       on drugs. Angie said her mother did
                John and his wife moved into the
                                                           to pay the costs of replacement, if they   not recollect signing the authority.
                village. One of the reasons they chose
                                                           confirmed that they had destroyed his
                that village was because they were                                                    Seniors Rights Service said that when
                                                           original deeds.
                regular swimmers and wanted the                                                       a person with capacity has voluntarily
                convenience of a pool onsite.                                                         signed an authority without duress or
                                                           CASE STUDY 8                               undue influence, there is no remedy
                The swimming pool was supposed
                                                           A long-running case for a group of         against the bank, since they had acted
                to have been constructed some
                                                           eight clients was successfully settled.    within the terms of the authority.
                five years ago. Eventually, following
                                                           They had found contradictory terms         The only remedy would be if the
                ongoing correspondence from John
                                                           in the retirement village management       mother had made it clear to Jessica
                and other residents, and then from
                                                           agreement and the disclosure               (preferably in writing) that access to
                Seniors Rights Service on behalf
                                                           statement. Calculating the deferred        the account was given solely so she
                of John, the operator advised it
                                                           management fee (payable on                 could spend funds in her mother’s
                did not intend to construct the
                                                           departure from the village) according      best interests. Then the mother could
                swimming pool.
                                                           to the management agreement                pursue a debt recovery action against
                Our service prepared an application                                                   Jessica for misappropriation of funds.
                                                           resulted in a fee that was almost three
                to the NSW Civil and Administrative                                                   We also noted the possible futility of
                                                           times as much as if it was calculated
                Tribunal (NCAT) for an order seeking                                                  taking action against people, such as
                                                           according to the formula in the
                compensation for John for the lack of                                                 Jessica, who have little or no money
                                                           disclosure statement.
                the promised pool.                                                                    or assets.
                                                           All the clients are still living in the
                                                           village, so have not yet been charged
                CASE STUDY 7
                                                           the fee. However, they were concerned
                Arthur* wanted the return of the           that they might be charged the higher
                physical deeds of title that he handed     fee on departure.
                over to the bank when he guaranteed
                                                           The village operator eventually agreed
                a loan for his daughter. When the
                                                           to issue settlement letters stating that
                deeds were given to the bank, they
                                                           the deferred management fee would
                were accompanied by a letter from
                                                           be calculated in accordance with the
                Arthur insisting that the physical deeds
                                                           disclosure statement.
                eventually be returned to him, as they
                were essential to historical research
                he was undertaking. Arthur’s daughter
                repaid the loan and his guarantee
                was never called upon, but the bank        *All client names and identifying details have been changed to
                did not return the deeds. Arthur was       preserve confidentiality.

22                                                                                                                                        23
ANNUAL REPORT                                                                                                                       2017 - 2018

24                   25
ANNUAL REPORT   2017-2018

Seniors Rights Service provides         Under the national umbrella of Older      the South Coast and Mid-North Coast                                                  OUR ADVOCACY WORK - QUICK FACTS
aged care advocacy to people            People’s Advocacy Network (OPAN)          regional staff, we are fast approaching
receiving Commonwealth-funded           over the whole year, we have found        equity for all seniors accessing aged
                                                                                                                                       We provided                     Advocacy          Total                                    1835

aged care services. Our advocates       our national voice as we work with our    care services areas around the state. In                                                               Advocacy cases                            779
support, inform and defend the          sister National Aged Care Advocacy        the second half of 2018, we have a new                                                                 Complex advocacy cases                      11
rights of older people so they feel     Plan (NACAP) services. This will          position in the South West and another                                                                 Advocacy inquiries                        993
empowered to speak up about             greatly extend our reach with OPAN        in the Far North Coast of NSW. Older            advocacy services to                                   Social support                             52
their care and services, in order       initiatives and nationally available      people receiving care and services,            recipients of aged care               Information       Total                                     1131
to improve those services and the       resources. Seniors Rights Service         or needing to know about rights and                   in 2017-18
recipients’ quality of life. Looking    has been very willing to share our        choices they have with home care or                                                  General inquiries Total                                     528
back over the year, I am pleased that   expert knowledge of advocacy and          residential care, will be able to receive
                                                                                                                                                                       Education         Total                                     954
our committed advocacy team has         input when requested. All advocates       more face-to-face advocacy and be
                                                                                                                                                                                         Sessions for residents &                   312
continued to provide high-quality       participated in a capacity-building       more easily able to attend regular
assistance to the older people of       workshop in February after the 5th        education sessions while still in the
                                                                                                                              telegraph and aged care providers                          Sessions for residential staff              127
New South Wales. The team of six        National Elder Abuse Conference. With     community so they can be aware of
                                                                                                                              have heard of our expansion into                           Home care services recipients                76
will expand to eight by the end of      other NACAP members, we explored          options for their futures.
                                                                                                                              regional areas and tell us they are                        Home care services staff                    60
2018, enabling us to meet the needs     how consistently we delivered services
                                                                                  The growing advocacy team is                excited they will have advocates close                     Community                                   161
of even more vulnerable people.         across Australia, discussed the NACAP
                                                                                  now supported by Margaret Crothers          by to assist their care recipients to                      Cold calls to aged care services             58
We are also confident we can easily     work plan and the new initiatives
                                                                                  as Regional Coordinator. Her                address issues before they become                          Promotions                                 160
reach our new targets for the next      already in motion from new elder
                                                                                  knowledge and experience in the             too complex. This includes more
reporting period.                       abuse funding through OPAN.                                                                                                    Referrals to:     Aged care service provider                 567
                                                                                  field has been invaluable in training       regular education sessions for
                                        With an advocate employed in the          the new advocates working remotely.         residents and their families                               ACAT                                        32
                                        Central West region in February joining   News travels fast on the rural              and representatives.                                       Carers NSW                                  24
                                                                                                                                                                                         Dementia Australia                           4
                                                                                                                                                                                         Elder Abuse Helpline & Resource Unit        23
                                                                                                                                                                                         Centrelink                                  91
                                                                                                                                                                                         Community service                          104
                                                                                                                                                                                         Community Legal Services                    50
                                                                                                                                                                       Referrals from:   My Aged Care                              265
                                                                                                                                                                                         ACAT/Allied Health                         153
                                                                                                                                                                                         Aged care provider                          56
                                                                                                                                                                                         Elder Abuse Helpline & Resource Unit        36
                                                                                                                                                                       Referrals to Aged Referrals to                               164
                                                                                                                                                                       Care Complaints Referrals from                                81

26                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   27
ANNUAL REPORT                                                                                                                                                                                                                   2017-2018
Advocacy Work Types 2017-18

           TOP FIVE                          We have also welcomed         families, as well as to staff who are in a   be empowered and make their own
       CLIENT CONCERNS                         Kate Kennedy in the         position to identify when a resident is      decisions. These resources will be
                                               new role of social          not happy with a part of their care, but     included in the new Quality Standards,
           1. Access to services                support for older people   is reluctant to speak up. Advocates                                                                     Empowering Clients for Self-Advocacy
                                                                                                                        and aged care services will be
            2. Financial issues                 experiencing or at risk    provide support to raise issues and          assessed on these from July 2018.
                                                                                                                                                                                   Assisted Advocacy
                                                                                                                                                                                   Representation and Face-to-Face
             3. Quality of care                of abuse (see Social        to have them addressed. Aged care
               4. Human and                    Support Services box).      providers are not able to address            We have met regularly during the
                                                                                                                        year with the Aged Care Complaints
              consumer rights                 This service resulted from   issues if they are not raised, and many
                                             OPAN funding for a pilot      older people are afraid to rock the          Commissioner’s NSW manager and
               5. Duty of care                                                                                          the Australian Aged Care Quality
                                           from January to June 2018.      boat or make a formal complaint.
                                         The service offers a range of     Care staff have a key role to play in        Agency, and attended Department of
                                     social work interventions in a        ensuring quality care is provided and        Health community liaison meetings.
                                   multidisciplinary model across the      care recipients’ rights are upheld. We       At these meetings, we raise trends
                                   organisation. We are pleased to         are pleased that so many aged care           in issues affecting clients, including
                                                                                                                                                                 Advocacy for Special Needs Groups
                                   see the role being funded into the      managers refer their clients to us for       waiting times for receiving home care
                                   next financial year.                    advice and support.                          packages, lack of transport in rural
                                   Advocates have been available to        We have continued to contribute to           areas for medical, social and cultural
                                   support residents and their families    the Cognitive Decline Partnership            reasons, and staff skills and quality
                                   whose aged care homes have been         Centre project, which has now                of care. We have received more calls
                                   seen as failing to meet the standards   published three resources for                this year about unfair agreements
                                                                                                                                                                                    Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islanders     18
                                   expected by government and the          community members and aged                   and fees, not receiving monthly                             Culturally Diverse                     165
                                   community. We are now in a position     care staff on supported decision-            accounts and questions around whose                         LGBTIQ+                                5
                                                                                                                                                                                    Veterans                               10
                                   to provide more regular education       making. These tools clarify their            responsibility it is to monitor annual
                                                                                                                                                                                    Regional/Rural/Remote                  682
                                   sessions to care recipients and         role in supporting older people to           and lifetime caps on home care fees.                        Care Leavers

                                                                                                                                                                                    NB: Some clients identified as belonging to
                                                                                                                                                                                    more than one special needs group. 2

                                                                                                                                                                       Advocacy Client Types

                                                                                                                                                                                   Residents of Aged Care Homes    915
                                                                                                                                                                                   Residential Respite             72
                                                                                                                                                                                   Prospective Recipients          391
                                                                                                                                                                                   Previous Recipients             5
                                                                                                                                                                                   Home Care Recipients            619

28                                                                                                                                                                                                                               29
ANNUAL REPORT                                                                                                                                                                                                            2017 - 2018


                                                                                                     OUR SOCIAL                                                 Aged Care Advocacy
                                                                                                                                                                Geographical Areas
                                                                                                     SUPPORT SERVICES                                                                                         Aged Care Education
                                                                                                                                                                           Remote             Metro           Geographical Areas
                                                                                                                                                                             32               196
                We have continued to meet with the                                                   A pilot program to scope the                                          sessions          sessions

                Aged Care Roundtable to promote                                                      development of a social support service          Remote
                                                                                                                                                                          Metro                                             Metro
                quality of care and standards to                                                     at Seniors Rights Service began in                 10               Regional/Rural
                                                                                                                                                                                                              32           sessions
                all aged care recipients.                                                            January 2018. The program employed                                                                    sessions
                                                                  More than                          a social worker, Kate Kennedy, to scope

                In the office, we have                                                                                                                                                                    Regional/Rural
                                                                                                     the delivery of a social support role         Regional/Rural
                contributed to the                                                                                                                     582                                                   sessions
                                                                                                     within the organisation to assist older          clients
                Quality and Community
                                                                                                     clients with complex needs who were
                Engagement working
                                                                                                     experiencing, or were at risk of, abuse.
                group, reviewing and
                                                           of advocacy services                      Some of the outcomes of the pilot were:                                                   Metro
                updating our policies; and                                                                                                                                                      33
                to the Reconciliation Action                 provided were to                        • Scoping the development of a
                                                                                                                                                                                   /Rural      clients
                Plan Advisory Group, as well               people in our priority                      multidisciplinary service model in                                         clients                                    Metro
                as ensuring that all staff are                                                         Seniors Rights Service to allow for a                                                           Regional               33
                “trauma informed”.
                                                                populations                            more supportive service response                         Social support for older people at risk of,
                                                                                                                                                                                                         /Rural              clients
                                                                                                                                                                           or experiencing, abuse                  19
                                                                                                       to elderly clients at risk of or                                                                          clients
                Advocates have continued to                                                            experiencing abuse
                meet regularly with elder abuse
                prevention networks across the state,                                                • Development and trial of an internal            ADVOCACY
                                                                                                                                                      Remote       ISSUES                    RAISED BY CLIENTS
                                                                                                                                                        32             196
                and contribute to projects under                                                       referral pathway for the role                 sessions         sessions

                the guidance of the Elder Abuse             out of sight to us and the many                                                              Abuse, harassment, intimidation                                            17
                                                                                                     • Delivery of a range of social work
                                                            services which may benefit them. We                                                     Regional/Rural
                Helpline & Resource Unit and local                                                     interventions including psycho/social            Access to appropriate care
                                                                                                                                                        151                                                                    284
                community service professionals             need to build trust and relationships      assessment, case work, counselling              sessions
                                                                                                                                                         Care options                                                            73
                who understand their communities            with these groups locally and              and referral services
                                                            regionally – Aboriginal, culturally                                                          Advocacy                                                               165
                and their needs. These groups
                                                            diverse, war veterans, LGBTIQ+           • Development and trial of an evaluation            Agreements                                                              89
                provide access to minority groups
                                                            communities, care leavers, and rural       tool to capture impact of the service
                and communities at risk, and their                                                                                                       Assessment                                                                 18
                                                            and remote communities.                    for clients
                members provide a valuable source                                                                                                        Assets/income assessment/pension                                      272
                of referral.                                For those aged care providers who        • Provision of social work interventions                           Metro

                                                                                                       to 52 clients from January to June 2018
                                                                                                                                                          Regional 33
                                                                                                                                                         Alternative decision making                                             58
                Advocates and the rest of the service       do not feel independent advocacy                                                                 /Rural     clients

                                                            is of any assistance to them or their                                                           19
                                                                                                                                                         Financial hardship                                                         14
                have provided elder abuse-focused                                                    • Identification and development of key               clients

                education sessions to community and         residents, we say we are now in your       partnerships and stakeholders                     Tenure                                                                  22
                professional groups, including Aged         neighbourhood and ready to assist.         for referrals.                                    Behaviour management                                                       8
                Care Assessment Teams, Regional             Let’s not wait for a formal complaint,
                                                                                                     Seniors Rights Service is pleased to                Individual care planning/choice                                        80
                Assessment Service, culturally and          but intervene early and remember
                                                                                                     report that this role will continue to be a
                                                            the assistance of advocates is                                                               Complaints                                                             184
                linguistically diverse community                                                     part of our service response, following
                leaders, at community aged care             always available.                                                                            Duty of care                                                            93
                                                                                                     the positive impact of the pilot program.
                forums. This has built on the               Our thanks must go to the board,                                                             Communication                                                              15
                momentum of the 5th National Elder          CEO Russell Westacott, our fellow                                                            Critical incidents/falls                                                   9
                Abuse Conference hosted by Seniors          managers, reception and intake
                Rights Service in February. Calls to the    people, solicitors and volunteers,                                                           Food and nutrition                                                         15
                service saw a significant rise in the       supporters and collaborators for
                                                                                                                               During the pilot,         Human and consumer rights                                              102
                months following the conference, as         their tireless work in promoting and                               our social worker         Medications                                                                13
                awareness was heightened in                 delivering valuable services to more                              assisted more than
                                                                                                                                                         Quality of health and personal care                                    199

                the community.                              vulnerable Australians.
                                                                                                                                                         Transport                                                                  11
                Next year we will focus on the              Pat Joyce
                special-needs groups who remain             Manager Advocacy                                                                             Environment                                                                13
                                                                                                                              people with abuse
30                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         31
ANNUAL REPORT                                                                                                                                                                                                                       2017 - 2018

Our aim is to reach as many of           The Central West NSW advocacy           service, based in Mollymook, and       CENTRAL WEST NSW                  The Central West NSW service covers       • Extensive travel, with 49 information
our target audience as possible          service based in Dubbo began            the Mid-North Coast NSW service,       SHANEL TIGHE                      the local government areas of Dubbo,        sessions delivered at aged care
around the state, so it was with         operation on February 1, 2018 when      which works out of Port Macquarie.                                       Midwestern Regional (Mudgee),               facilities, senior citizen’s groups,
great excitement that our regional       we welcomed Shanel Tighe as the         Both regions are popular retirement                                      Coonamble, Warrumbungle Shire               men’s and women’s sheds and CALD
advocacy services expanded from          new Seniors Rights Service advocate/    destinations, with large populations                                     (Coonabarabran), Parkes, Gilgandra,         groups in Dubbo, Kandos, Parkes,
two to three in 2017-18, thanks to new   education officer for the region.       aged over 65.                                                            Narromine and Warren.                       Coonamble, Orange, Wellington,
national funding arrangements.                                                                                                  Coonamble                                                             Molong, Yeoval and Coonabarabran.
                                         As a new service, the focus in the      In 2018-19, two more advocates are                                       Around 17.5 per cent of the population
                                         first five months of operation          being added: South West NSW, based         Warren Coonabarabran          in the Dubbo state electorate is aged     • A successful stall at the Dubbo
                                         was on promoting awareness of           in Wagga and providing access across                      Gilgandra      65 or over.                                 Neighbourhood Centre Seniors Expo
                                         Seniors Rights Service in the region,   the Riverina, and Far North Coast             Narromine                                                              in April.
                                                                                                                                           Dubbo          Highlights
                                         and establishing and building           NSW, based in Lismore.                                   Wellington                                                • A presentation at the Coonabarabran
                                         relationships within the aged care                                                     Yeoval           Mudgee   • Interagency meetings in Dubbo,
                                                                                 The new regional services will                        Molong                                                         Volunteers Morning Tea in May.
                                         sector and with local communities,                                                                     Kandos
                                                                                                                                                             Mudgee, Coonamble and Wellington
                                                                                 substantially improve our statewide            Parkes
                                         particularly Indigenous people,                                                                  Orange             with home care providers, Aboriginal   • A presentation at the Australian Unity
                                                                                 reach and allow us to greatly expand
                                         who make up 13.2 per cent of                                                                                        and youth organisations, disability      Aboriginal Expo in Dubbo in June.
                                                                                 our face-to-face support for people
                                         the population of the Dubbo                                                                                         advocacy groups and other
                                                                                 seeking advocacy services across
                                         region. Shanel has proved to be a                                                                                   welfare groups.
                                                                                 the state
                                         powerhouse in her region and has                                                                                 • Aboriginal elders meetings in Dubbo
                                         been a most valuable addition to the    Margaret Crothers
                                                                                                                                                            and Orange, attended by a total of
                                                                                 Regional Coordinator

                                         advocacy team.                                                                                                     around 30 people.
                                         The Central West NSW service has
                                         joined the existing South Coast NSW
                                                                                                                                                                                                    advocacy services provided

                                                                                                                                                                                                        education sessions

                                                                                                                                                                                                          people attended

32                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       33
ANNUAL REPORT                                                                                                                                                                                                                       2017-2018
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