photo of older couple with lawyer

Senior Assist

With large numbers of people experiencing financial stress and anxiety as a consequence of COVID- 19, we anticipate higher rates of older people experiencing or at risk of elder abuse in coming weeks and months. Although there will be some changes to our service as a consequence of the virus, we remain open and available to people in need.

  • You can contact us by phone on 1300 366 611 or 03 6236 3800 and ask to be put through to Senior Assist.
  • You can also contact us on email at: senior.assist@legalaid.tas.gov.au

A legal and support service for people experiencing elder abuse

Our team has lawyers and case managers who work together to help you if you are experiencing or at risk of abuse. We are located in Hobart and Launceston and can provide services to other areas in Tasmania.

We aim to provide a practical and effective response to elder abuse and prevention in Tasmania. Our team will work with you to plan support and legal responses.

What is Elder Abuse?

Up to 14 per cent of older people may experience elder abuse in the form of physical, emotional, financial, social or sexual abuse.

The definition of elder abuse used by the Tasmanian and Australian governments is:

A single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person". Elder abuse can take various forms such as financial, physical, psychological and sexual. It can also be the result of intentional or unintentional neglect.

Elder abuse is any mistreatment of an older person by another person with whom they have a relationship of trust. Often that person is a family member or carer, but it could be a friend or neighbour on whom they depend.

Some forms of abuse are clear such as physical or sexual assaults. Others may not be so clear for example where your carer denigrates you or you have a power of attorney that is not acting in the way you want them to. If you think we can help you, feel free to contact us.

Who we can assist?

Senior Assist is a free service. We will assist you if you:

  • are over the age of 65 years (or over the age of 50 years if Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander); and are at risk of, or are experiencing abuse
  • request advice about substitute decision making or prevention of abuse such as wills, enduring powers of attorney, enduring guardianship, advanced care directives, granny flat arrangements etc; and
  • request community legal education sessions on elder abuse, prevention and legal options.

How we can help you?

Our team can speak with you, help you understand the issue you are facing and the options available to you. We can link you to other support services.

Some examples of how we can help are:

  • we can provide assistance and advice on a range of legal matters where there is abuse or a risk of abuse.
  • our case managers can support you to make decisions about your safety and future needs.
  • advising you regarding recovering your property (this could mean your car, personal belongings or money)
  • drafting letters for you to send to others requesting return of your money or making a complaint about your treatment.
  • assisting you to better understand your legal options to protect you and your assets.
  • helping you to report matters to police or other authorities.
  • assisting you to access other services to pursue the legal options of your choice.
  • providing information sessions to groups and community agencies  on elder abuse response and prevention.

How to contact Senior Assist

Unfortunately, due to COVID 19 we are unable to meet with you in person at this time. Instead, we can provide you with assistance over the telephone. To phone  us, call 1300 366 611 or 03 6236 3800 and ask to be put through to Senior Assist.

You can also contact us on email at: senior.assist@legalaid.tas.gov.au

Does it cost anything?

No, this is a free service.

Can we help concerned friends, carers and relatives?

We can provide general advice, assistance and support to any concerned person, including friends, carers, support services or relatives. Our main focus is to assist an older person directly.

Free community education and information

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 we are unable to offer this service at this time. When we are back to normal we can come and talk to your group or organisation about legal issues relevant to elder abuse.

Last updated: 08/04/2020