The Commission will be taking submissions until the end of June 2019, with an interim report due by 31 October this year, and Commissioners Tracey and Briggs will be expected to hand down their final report by the end of April 2020. The voices and testimonies of older people and their families who have been affected by abuse within the aged care system will be key to the success of the Commission, which aims to not only expose these practices but to make concrete recommendations on how Australia can deliver the services its older citizens expect into the future.
“ADACAS has over 25 years’ experience assisting older people who are experiencing abuse and neglect, as well as a range of issues regarding service quality,” Michael Bleasdale, CEO of ADACAS, said. “We are ready to support people who have been affected by abuse across the aged care system, in residential and home care, and who are considering making a statement to the Royal Commission or making an appearance at hearings.”
Submissions are required to be made via a specific form which is on the Commission’s website, and there is a telephone number people can call if they have difficulty making a submission.
“For some people making a submission can be very difficult, and not only because of the technology they are required to use to tell their story and get their point across,” Mr Bleasdale said. “It can also be very confronting, so the Advocates at ADACAS can provide help on how to make these submissions, and support people who may experience distress.”
The Commission website advises people who are considering making submissions to seek legal advice if they are concerned that the information they provide may be defamatory. The Commission has also made provision for financial assistance for legal representation and associated disbursement costs for people who are called or granted leave to appear as a witness at the Commission and other related activities.
“It is vital that people who feel compelled to give testimony at the Commission have their rights protected, and are encouraged to give their version of events without fear of retribution,” said Ms Sonia Di Mezza, Deputy CEO, who leads ADACAS Aged Care Advocacy and Elder Abuse teams. “ADACAS will assist people in the ACT to access whatever legal and other supports they need to make their contribution to the Commission.”
People seeking assistance from ADACAS should call 02 6242 5060, or email email@example.com. More details regarding Older Persons Advocacy Network, can be found at: https://opan.com.au/
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