Older woman standing outside

Ready to listen: Preventing sexual assault in aged care

Published: 4 July 2022

An estimated 50 sexual assaults take place in residential aged care in Australia every week. Older people also experience sexual assault in their own homes. The trauma they experience is compounded by the lack of education for service providers. With limited knowledge about sexual assault, service providers do not fully understand the power they have to prevent sexual assault.

The #ReadyToListen project aims to build the skills and capacity of residential aged care service providers to better respond to – and prevent – sexual assault in residential aged care.

At the heart of the #ReadyToListen project is a MAP (myths, facts and practical strategies). It outlines 10 ways in which residential aged care service providers can improve their responses to – and prevent – sexual assault.

MAP elements

  1. Understanding sexual assault definitions and prevalence

  2. Determining sexual consent

  3. Assessing the indicators of sexual assault

  4. Identifying the impacts of sexual assault

  5. Complying with reporting requirements

  6. Providing immediate safety and support

  7. Practicing open disclosure

  8. Providing trauma informed aged care services

  9. Recognising and reducing resident vulnerability

  10. Protection, prevention and service improvement.

Join the campaign

On 14th June 2022, the day before World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAD), we are launching a campaign that asks the world to listen to older people who report sexual assault.

In Australia there are an estimated 50 sexual assaults in residential aged care each week. Most of the victims/survivors are people with dementia. We are calling for dementia and aged care leaders to help raise awareness of the importance of listening, the first step in support and prevention.

Please download the #ReadyToListen sign template, write your name and organisation and share it using the #ReadyToListen hashtag on socials.