Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward has today announced that local seniors across our region will be empowered to recognise and speak up about elder abuse following a workshop to be held in Shellharbour tomorrow Wednesday 16th May and in Wollongong on Thursday 17th May to mark the upcoming 2018 Law Week.

Mr Ward has today announced that Legal Aid NSW and the Seniors Rights Service have partnered with local experts to deliver the workshop.

The free Shellharbour workshop Piano Forte – Legal Issues for Older People will take place at Shellharbour City Library tomorrow Wednesday 16th May from 10am to 12pm.

The free Wollongong workshop will be held at Wollongong Central Library on Thursday 17th May from 1pm to 3pm.

“These two important events will bust myths, and start a conversation between older people and their loved ones,” Mr Ward said.

“It is crucial that older people understand how the law can work to protect them, and that they know where to get help if things go wrong.

“Participants will view a screening of the film Piano Forte, which explores legal issues such as wills, enduring powers of attorney and elder abuse. After the film local experts will lead an audience discussion, following both events,” Mr Ward said.

The NSW Minister for Ageing Tanya Davies said financial abuse is one of the most prevalent forms of elder abuse and family members are sadly often the perpetrators.

“A common scenario might involve an older person being pressured to ‘go guarantor’ on a home loan to help a child or grandchild get a foothold on the property ladder. In the worst cases, victims are fleeced of their savings by a relative or carer,” Mrs Davies said.

The NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman SC said these events, being held in 12 regional and city locations across the State, would also highlight the importance of planning ahead.

“All too often, families are left making tough decisions that could have been made easier through early planning. Simple things like writing a will and choosing someone you trust to make decisions for you if you need them to, can offer real peace of mind,” Mr Speakman said.

Both workshops will feature experts from Legal Aid NSW, the Illawarra Legal Centre, the Seniors Rights Service and the NSW Elder Abuse Helpline and Resource Unit.

For information on National Law Week 14th-20th May please visit the website at: www.lawweek.com.au.

Anyone who experiences or suspects elder abuse should call the New South Wales Government’s NSW Elder Abuse Helpline and Resource Unit on 1800 628 221 or please visit the website at: www.elderabusehelpline.com.au.