2R Ageing


Serge Sardo,
Better Place Australia

Catherine Hayden,
Better Place Australia

Wednesday November 21 2018

Time: 4:55pm – 5:30pm

Room: Boardroom 2

2R Ageing

Outcomes from Elder Abuse prevention Services



Elder abuse in our community is pervasive and hidden from view. The most challenging aspect of elder abuse is that it is significantly under-reported and most often perpetrated by people closest to the victim, such as adult children, spouses or care givers. While elder abuse is described as a form of family violence, there are a few clear differences between elder abuse and the type of family violence which is commonly experienced by women and children. One of the critical differences is that it is often intergenerational and that the victim of elder abuse often wants to maintain relationships with the whole family, including the perpetrator.

Elder abuse can take many forms and can frequently involve a family member or a person very close to the older person. To date, most approaches in managing elder abuse involve a legal framework. Whilst legal intervention can be necessary in elder abuse, older people are reluctant to commence a legal pathway for fear of losing the relationship.

Better Place Australia has developed a model for managing conflict for older Australians and preventing abuse of older people. Our Respecting Elders Service (established in 2017), built within a framework of mediation and counselling, provides a prevention and early intervention response, which ultimately seeks to address conflict before it escalates and causes harm.

Since May 2017 Better Place Australia has received more than 160 referrals into the program. This presentation will focus on the data and outcomes of the Respecting Elders Service including:

  • predominant types of abuse being seen
  • demographics of clients referred into the program
  • what services such as family meetings, counselling are being utilised
  • what outcomes are being reported by clients
  • length of time cases take to resolution.


Serge is the CEO of Better Place Australia, formerly known as FMC Mediation and Counselling, and a Board Director for both Scope Disability Services and Family and Relationship Services Australia (FRSA).

As a psychologist with nearly 20 years’ experience,  Serge has delivered and managed a wide variety of community based therapeutic and prevention services and has been a member of two Ministerial Advisory Councils at the state and federal level. Prior to these roles he was the inaugural CEO of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation where he was instrumental in establishing the Foundation as a world leader in the delivery of counselling, support and prevention programs.

Catherine Hayden is a family consultant for the Respecting Elders support and conflict resolution service at Better Place Australia, formerly known as FMC Mediation and Counselling. A Registered Nurse and Quality/ Compliance Manager, she has had over 30 years in clinical and further education in the fields of Perioperative Nursing, Community Aged Care and experience in the Disability field and the Retirement sector.

One of her passions is for clients/ patients to receive well designed advocacy to enable them to maintain the utmost independence possible, which has led to her front the Respecting Elders program as a family consultant to empower older persons and promote their independence and safety.