10/06/2021 - Mediation is better for resolving elder abuse

The peak body for legal aid in Australia claims mediation services developed to deal with complex child custody disputes could be used to resolve cases of elder abuse if legal aid commissions are properly funded,

The mediation format was developed for use in family law cases and has an 80% success rate, said Chairman, Graham Hill of National Legal Aid

Hill said the same model could be used in certain cases of elder abuse, for example: when parents are preventing an older person from seeing their grandchilderen, or in financial disputes where property is shared.

The suggestion comes as part of a demand for more funding for civil law services to allow legal aid commissions to act in more cases of elder abuse.

“Mediation is so much better than court because court destroys relationships …whereas mediation tries to enhance relationships in a family setting,� Hill told Guardian Australia. “We have put to the attorney general’s department that this service could be applied to cases of elder abuse, which can be quite sensitive with family involved.�

At the national elder abuse conference in Sydney the attorney general, Christian Porter, revealed a new national plan to tackle elder abuse, to be developed by the Council of Attorneys General.

The plan was a recommendation of a report by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) in June, and will include research to determine the scale of problem in Australia such as spiralling house prices leading to rise in elder abuse, Legal Aid says

There is no detailed data on rates of elder abuse in Australia but the World Health Organisation puts global rates at between 2% and 14% of all people aged 65 and over experiencing at least one instance of elder abuse each year.



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