Referring clients

Your older client may not be seeking a legal remedy, even if there are actionable legal issues. This may be due to inaccurate perceptions of what lawyers can do for them, the cost of legal services or a desire to preserve a family relationship. The client may also have medical and social issues and may be experiencing other forms of abuse.

Research suggests that older abused people can be supported to make far-reaching decisions to overcome the abuse if they receive a response from professionals that addresses the whole problem ( Cripps et al. 2002). A client may benefit from a mediation service or from referral to a service provider who can spend more time with them and can attend to their social or health issues, such as a community health centre or an Aged Care Assessment Service.

You need to be able to respond proactively, so an effective practice is to build relationships with other professionals and relevant referral agencies to provide support in areas outside your legal expertise.

See Resources for a list of agencies where you can refer your client for other forms of support and assistance. Or you can call Seniors Rights Victoria on 1300 368 821 to discuss your client’s situation.