Advocare’s Ready to Listen – Volunteer Program

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Supporting victims of sexual abuse in Residential Aged Care

It is estimated 50 sexual assaults take place in residential aged care in Australia every week.

To help build the skills and capacity of residential aged care service providers #ReadyToListen (RTL) was launched in 2021.  The program was designed to improve responses to and prevent sexual assault in residential aged care. The project was funded by the Department of Health and led by the Older Persons Advocacy Network, in partnership with Celebrate Ageing and the Older Women’s Network, New South Wales.

Inspired by this work, Advocare with the support from WACOSS Peaks Grant funded by Lotterywest, is launching a new pilot project:  Advocare’s Ready to Listen: Volunteer Program.

 Advocare’s Ready to Listen: Volunteer Program aims to provide much needed support to victims of sexual abuse in residential aged care.  RTL volunteers will spend time with victims, helping them feel safe, heard, and cared for to make a positive impact on their emotional recovery.

During our Ready to Listen webinar series, it became evident there is a lack of coordinated support for older victims of sexual abuse’ says Louise Forster, Advocare CEO. ‘Residents of aged care facilities who are under the Office of the Public Advocate are particularly vulnerable, as they do not have support from family and friends. Nor do they have access to formal or informal support while in a facility – unless they pay for it privately.’

Through this program, Advocare hopes to help breakdown the stigma experienced by victims and focus on the healing process.

Support for Residential Aged Care Facilities 

Advocare aims to develop strong relationships with providers to ensure victims have awareness and access to support available, while maintaining their dignity and privacy. For this pilot program, RTL volunteers will be located in the Perth metro area, and if successful, Advocare hopes to train volunteers across the state.

If you would like further information on this service, please contact Michelle Lekhoathy, or call on 08 9479 7566.

Resources for aged care provider staff:

Flyer – Warning Signs: Indicators of Sexual Abuse (for staff and trained volunteers)

Booklet – A Quick Guide to Residential Aged Care Provider Responsibilities

Booklet – Responding to disclosure of Sexual Assault for Service Provider Staff