Shawnee’s passion for Elder Abuse Education

Main Content

Shawnee Van Poeteren’s face may be familiar to some in the aged care provider space. She’s worked with Advocare for more than four and a half years in the roles of advocate, specialist navigator and more recently, Education Team Leader. Shawnee’s definitely no shrinking violet when it comes to championing older people’s rights – especially in the field of elder abuse awareness.

With 30 years’ experience in the management and coordination of aged care, Aboriginal health, and community and allied health services, Shawnee’s passion is to use every day and opportunity to raise the issue of the abuse of older Australians, to ensure they’re seen, heard, valued and supported.

She strongly believes in Advocare’s role of providing information, support and assistance to some of our most vulnerable community members. Making the older person feel truly empowered to make informed decisions – decisions that will allow them to live an engaged, happy, independent and fulfilled life free from control and abuse is the ultimate goal.

“Knowing the signs of elder abuse is a key part of our education process, however the indicators of elder abuse can be as unique as the older person themselves, so there’s no cookie-cutter approach to recognising, responding to, or preventing abuse,” says Shawnee.

“That’s why educating widely is so important – not just the older person, but also their friends, family, service provider staff and other professionals they may interact with on a daily basis who might see the signs of abuse or identify if the older person may be at risk of it.”shawnee van poeteren

Shawnee’s role as Education Team Leader means taking this message to the next level by guiding her team of educators to take this powerful message out into the community and aged care sector. These free sessions also cover Advocare’s range of services on offer to all aged care service providers and can we tailored to your needs.

If you’d like to book an education session for your organisation or community group, contact us on 08 9479 7566 or email

Share more of Shawnee’s insights in this video filmed by the Department of Communities to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on 15 June. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 15 June 2023 – YouTube