About the service
If you’re over 60 (50 for First Nations People) and someone is hurting you or taking advantage of you, TASC may be able to help.
Our Seniors Legal and Support Service is funded to help older people in Toowoomba, Ipswich and Ipswich hinterland who are experiencing or at risk of elder abuse, being mistreated or being financially exploited.
Elder Abuse takes many forms and can be hard to talk to someone about, especially when it is being done by a family member.
If you are unsure, or something doesn’t feel right please talk to someone you can trust or call TASC.
This is a free, confidential service which will only act under your choice and guidance.
Types of elder abuse
Financial abuse is the illegal or improper use of your money, property, or things. It could include:
- Stealing or taking your property, money, or valuables
- Forcing changes to your Will
- Denying access to your personal funds
- Forging your signature
- Misusing a power of attorney
Psychological abuse means doing something which causes someone mental pain. It can be actions that make you afraid of violence, isolation, deprivation or which make you feel ashamed or powerless.
- Threats to hurt you
- Using words to frighten, shame or bully you
- Threats of putting you in a home
- Withholding affection such as refusing access to grandchildren
This means causing physical pain or injury or forcing some to do something with physical force.
- Pushing or physically restraining
This is sexually abusive or unwelcome behaviour.
- Indecent touching
- Sexual harassment
- Inappropriate or unwelcome comments
Neglect is when a carer does not provide the necessities of life to the person they are caring for. Neglect can be intentional (done on purpose) or where someone does not have the ability to give the care needed (unintentional).
Intentional neglect can be:
- Abandoning you
- Not looking after your hygiene or personal care
- Not giving you enough food or proper clothing
- Not getting you medical care when you need it
- Refusing to allow other people to help you
Unintentional neglect can happen when a carer does not have the skills or knowledge to give you the care you need and when they do not know about the support available.
It can also happen if your carer is not well themselves and not able to give you the care you need.
What is elder abuse?
Elder abuse is a deliberate action, or the failure to take necessary action, which results in real or potential harm to an elder. An elder is any person over 60 years old or over 50 for First Nations people.
There are different types of elder abuse which can be physical, emotional, sexual, social, financial or neglect.
Elder abuse is often committed by someone that a person knows and trusts. It can happen when well-meaning people are overworked and overwhelmed. It can also occur when a predatory person takes advantage of an elder’s vulnerability.
Why is abuse so hard to talk about?
Abuse is never easy to talk about, and an older person may not always view some behaviour as abusive – particularly where it’s psychological.
Older people may worry about making strained relationships or situations worse, or fear changes in their care arrangements or way of life. Many people don’t know about the services and resources which can help them improve things.
“The service at TASC has changed my life. I have spoken about things that I have never told anyone before . . . .
It has affirmed my rights to be treated well. “
(TASC Seniors Legal and Support Service client, Toowoomba)
TASC’s Seniors legal and support service is free for anyone aged over 60 (50 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples) who live in Toowoomba, Ipswich and Ipswich hinterland.
How we help
Our lawyers and social workers will talk with you about what steps can be taken to address elder abuse including:
- steps to stay safe
- short-term counselling
- how to keep money and assets safe, or recover money or assets
- legal rights and options
- in certain circumstances, representing a client in court or before a tribunal.
You can decide whether you want SLASS to take action or not and if so, what option suits you the best.
Older persons experiencing abuse may contact the service directly. Family members and service providers may contact us to refer an older person for whom they hold concerns and SLASS will then contact the older person directly.
This factsheet explains more about elder abuse and the support Seniors Legal and Support can provide. Click Here to view.
Strategies to help avoid elder abuse
There are things you can do to help avoid elder abuse. These include:
- Plan for your future while you are well, healthy and independent
- Stay connected with family, friends and groups
- Don’t make important decisions just after a major event in your life.
- Give yourself some time and space to make good decisions – do not be rushed into making a decision
- Do not give up control of your money and assets while you are able to manage them
- Have your pension and cheques put straight into your own bank account
- Do not allow adult children to live with you without getting external advice
- Ask for help to make sure you understand legal documents before you sign them
- Know your rights. Older people have the right to live in safety, be treated with dignity and respect and make their own decisions (including the right not to do something)
What to expect when you contact us
When you phone us on (07) 4616 9700 one of our friendly receptionists will take your contact details and a very brief description of your problem. They will pass this information on to our intake team to call you back on the number you provide.
During this call they will see if we can help you with your matter. They will gather more information about your problem and confirm if you’re eligible. This is a confidential service and this information will only be used for these purposes.
If we are unable to help we will always refer you to another service which may be able to assist.
While we endeavour to call you back within 48 hours of you contacting TASC, this wait time is often extended in busy periods. We kindly ask for your patience during this process.
Our team will then schedule an appointment with one of our social workers. These appointments may be face to face at one of our locations, by phone or via video call.
After completing the form below, you will receive a phone call from our intake team, calling you back on the number you provide.
During this call they will see how we can help you with situation. They will gather more information about your problem and confirm if you’re eligible. This is a confidential service, and this information will only be used for these purposes.
If we are unable to help, we will always give you a referral to another service which may be able to assist.
Our team will then schedule an appointment with one of our SLASS social workers. These appointments may be face to face at one of our locations, by phone or via video call.
While we endeavour to call you back within 48 hours of you contacting us, this wait time is often extended in busy periods. We kindly ask for your patience during this process.