The end of financial year is always a busy time for organisations, and FRSA is no exception. But it also brings the promise of a new business year – a fresh start. I can’t help but feel excited as I work with my Board and team on our refreshed strategic directions and new projects for 2022-23.
And, with a new Government now firmly in place, the feeling of political ‘change’ in the air also brings a sense of freshness and anticipation to our work. Since the last edition of the eBulletin, Labor has achieved a majority Government and the new Ministry has been appointed. FRSA congratulates and welcomes the new Ministry and Shadow Ministry. I look forward to working with the Attorney-General, the Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP and the Minster for Social Services, Hon. Amanda Rishworth MP, and with the Coalition Shadow Ministers’ (read more on our new Attorney-General and Minister for Social Services in our eBulletin).
Next Wednesday 15 June is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Elder abuse is an issue that has been on my mind, no doubt intensified by the findings of the National Elder Abuse Prevalence Study, which was released at the end of December last year. Elder abuse is not an issue that has historically firmly sat in FRSA’s purview. This is certainly not because we don’t view it as an important issue. As the peak body for family and relationship services that are funded by the Australian Government through the Families and Children Activity, elder abuse sits indirectly in our sector’s remit. Some services under the Families and Children Activity are indeed relevant to the issue of elder abuse – mediation and relationship counselling for example. Our services do not preclude older Australians experiencing relationship issues, including high conflict and abuse. But nor do our services, as framed within the Families and Children Activity, explicitly encompass the experiences and service needs of older Australians. This needs to change.
The FRSA Conference, held in Adelaide in May, provided a solid and engaging stream of presentations on the theme of Ageing, including elder abuse and neglect. Over the coming weeks we hope to have as many presentation slides as possible from these presentations (and all Conference streams) on our website. The Conference ended with a powerful and motivating panel discussion with the Age Discrimination Commissioner, the Hon Dr Kay Patterson, lead researcher on the Elder Abuse Prevalence Study, Dr Ray Kaspiew, and four FRSA member representatives who have prioritised the often-forgotten needs of older Australians for some time – Anna Gillbard, Uniting Care, Jenni Dickson, Better Place, Mary Sophou, Pronia, and Dr Susan Cochrane, Relationships Australia. FRSA will take heed of the panel’s call for a stronger focus by our sector on supporting healthy, happy relationships for older Australians.
Next week is the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) 2022 Conference, Putting Families at the Centre, which will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 15-17 June. The program offers a strong line-up as well as the opportunity to hear from AIFS’ new Director, Dr Sharman Stone. The team here at FRSA is excited to be going. We have an exhibition booth at the Conference so if you are attending the Conference please drop by and say hello to the team at booth no. 11 during the conference.