Letter to the Australian Minister for Health and Ageing re. Support for Older Victims of Violence

Letter to the Australian Minister for Health and Ageing re. Support for Older Victims of Violence
Author: The DAI Admin Team
Published: Sunday, May 5th 2024

Four leading organizations, including Dementia Alliance International (DAI), have penned a letter to Mark Butler MP, Minister for Health and Ageing, expressing both commendation and a call for clarity on the recently announced pilot programs supporting victim-survivors of family, domestic, and sexual violence. The letter, submitted on the 22nd of February 2024, not only celebrates the Albanese Labor Government's commitment of over $103 million to these critical initiatives but also seeks clarification on the implementation of a life stages approach within these programs.

The letter, endorsed by Dementia Alliance International, Celebrate Aging, OWN NSW, and OPAN, underscores the significance of The National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032, emphasizing its pioneering life stages approach. In the current climate of extreme discontent around female violence, older women are still largely excluded in media coverage. Therefore, the clear mention of older women in the plan marks a significant step forward in supporting women with dementia who face violence at home or in care facilities.

We acknowledge this as a tremendous opportunity for the Primary Health Networks involved to provide support to an at-risk demographic who have too often been neglected in public policy. To assist with implementation, the letter outlines several myths that could create barriers to a successful life stages approach, including:

  • family violence is not an issue for older women or people living with dementia because they don’t report it

  • old age is a protective factor against sexual assault

  • sexual assault of older people is only an issue in aged care

  • family violence declines as older people ‘mellow’

  • family violence is less harmful to older women and people living with dementia

  • family violence and sexual assault services do not have a role in supporting older victim/survivors.

Finally, the letter underlines the Networks responsibility to reach out to women living with dementia and provide support. This is a valuable opportunity to make a difference in these womens’ lives and it should not be passed up. 

The full letter can be viewed here.

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About DAI: Dementia Alliance International (DAI) is a non-profit group of people with dementia from around the world seeking to represent, support, and educate others living with the disease that it is possible to live more positively than advised with dementia. It is an organization that promotes a unified voice of strength, advocacy and support in the fight for individual autonomy, improved quality of life, and for the human and legal rights of all with dementia and their families.

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