D5.1 Exploring the Complex Family Dynamics of Elder Abuse


Ben O’Rourke
Relationships Australia Queensland

Valerie Holden
Relationships Australia Queensland

Wednesday 17 May 2023

Time: 2:15pm – 2:45pm

Room: Room 9

D5.1 Ageing

Exploring the Complex Family Dynamics of Elder Abuse


This presentation explores the factors that underpin elder abuse within families and highlights Relationships Australia QLD (RAQ) Senior Relationships Service (SRS) collaborative multi-disciplinary team case management framework which is vital for supporting vulnerable individuals with complex needs.

Recognising that elder abuse often occurs within complex family dynamics, evidence-based interventions are adopted to support the older person, the abuser, and their relationships – factors critical to ensuring long-term, positive outcomes.

SRS are based on a multi-disciplinary team of Case Management, Counselling and Mediation within an applied ecological approach to address risk factors across individual, relationship, community, and societal levels through delivering community education and training.

RAQ’s model includes individual and family support and interventions to improve well-being and safety while addressing relationship, legal, financial, and other issues impacting older people. The model also seeks to raise community awareness of elder abuse, including continued links with key stakeholders through the established Elder Abuse Prevention Network across the state.

Case Managers act as lead professionals to ensure a single point of contact and development of a single case plan. Through collaborative case management, more than one practitioner or agency come together to respond to client needs, particularly where there are multiple, complex, and interrelated needs. Services work together to plan and deliver services, with the Case Manager responsible for ensuring clients receive the right services at the right time. In many instances, this is achieved by bringing services and clients and supports together to develop a case plan.

A case study will be discussed to demonstrate the implementation of the framework discussed above.


Ben O’Rourke has worked for over 15 years in Community Services, with a focus on helping promote rights and well belling for vulnerable people.

Ben is passionate about working members of the community to raise awareness and enjoys working in partnerships with to strengthen services and supports.

Val Holden is the Regional Manager for the Sunshine Coast/Wide Bay/Morton Bay Region she is also an experienced family and couples therapist. 

Val has more than 22 years’ experience in Management of counselling services and delivery of direct client practice in the not for profit industry

Val has a keen interest in working in the Family and Relationship service also with the Senior Relationships sector managing the Elder Abuse Prevention program, Elder Mediation Support Service, and the Senior Relationships Connections program across her Region.