The State Government will provide an additional $4 million to Legal Aid WA to establish Elder Rights WA and enable increased legal responses to elder abuse.
The funding will be provided over four years to establish the new State-wide elder abuse advocacy service to help combat elder abuse.
Elder Rights WA will build on Legal Aid WA’s Seniors Rights and Advocacy Service, which provides legal advice and representation regarding elder abuse and other legal matters.
The Seniors Rights and Advocacy Service also provides information and referrals for people who may not qualify for legal representation.
Legal Aid WA currently receives funding from the Commonwealth Department of the Attorney General and the Western Australian Department of Justice.
The additional funding will enable Legal Aid WA to provide legal assistance to older people experiencing all forms of elder abuse, and to safeguard and advocate for the rights of older people.
Elder Rights WA will provide a complete ‘wrap-around’ service for those experiencing elder abuse in Western Australia, providing security to those needing to access legal services.
The funding, provided over four years, will provide six new positions within Legal Aid and travel costs where required, to ensure that people in regional, rural and remote areas are also able to access the service.
As stated by Seniors and Ageing Minister Don Punch:
“Elder abuse can take many forms and have devastating physical, psychological and financial effects that frequently go unreported, often out of fear or lack of access to legal representation.
“It’s vital that victims of elder abuse have access to legal representation should they require it.
“Legal Aid WA already provides a range of vital services to the community’s most vulnerable people and Elder Rights WA will extend those services to seniors looking to safeguard their rights, as well as victims of elder abuse and those close to them.”