A SOUTH-WEST elder abuse awareness campaign has been picked up by a statewide organisation to support people living with financial abuse.
The Warm Safe Home Project was launched earlier this year by the South West Elder Abuse Prevention Network.
The project would have seen 500 small houses made by community members, schools, retirement homes and men's sheds and displayed at Gateway Plaza for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in June.
But due to the COVID-19 pandemic organisers made the decision to post the project on Facebook, with the campaign garnering thousands of views.
Elder Abuse Prevention Worker for South West Carer and Respite Services, Dr Becky Nevin Berger, said moving the project online how allowed her to reach a broader audience and get more people thinking about elder abuse.
"The message of the Warm Safe Home Project is simple, everyone has the right to a warm safe home regardless of age," she said.
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"That simple message, however, intersects with the complex issues embedded in elder abuse, ageism, social isolation, financial disadvantage and access to affordable housing are all factors in this often under reported form of family violence."
After the success of the local project, Financial Counselling Victoria recently launched its sister project Warm Safe Home for Older Victorians.
The statewide campaign is aimed at older Victorians who may be experiencing financial hardship, understanding that this may be the result of elder abuse, whether recognised or not.
Executive officer of Financial Counselling Victoria, Dr Sandy Ross, said financial counsellors provided practical advice to help people who had debts and were struggling to meet ordinary living expenses.
"Working in not-for-profit community organisations, their service is always free, independent, confidential and without conflict," she said.
For further information on Elder Abuse contact Seniors Rights Victoria on 1300 368 821, the Warrnambool Police Family Violence Unit can be contacted on 5560 1333, Bethany Financial counselling can be contacted on 5278 8122 for free and independent financial advice and if someone is in immediate danger call triple-0.
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