Carrying the Story Forward- Older Persons, Domestic and Family Violence

October 31, 2018

The upcoming 2018 STOP Domestic Violence Conference will be held at QT, Gold Coast over 3 and 4 December with optional workshops on 5 December. 

Joining us at the conference is Ms Deidre Venz, Social Work Advanced, Aged Response with Queensland Health who will present on ‘Carrying the Story Forward- Older Persons, Domestic and Family Violence’.


The aging population and complexity this demographic can experience is challenging the safety of vulnerable frail elderly in the community. The isolation, invisibility and our own expectations of how the elderly experience life are at times disguising Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) for this group. How do we identify older persons experiencing DFV, what does it look like and how do we provide an effective intervention will be discussed by this multi-disciplinary panel based around a recent DFV case involving an older female patient that challenged all members of the Geriatric Evaluation Management in The Home (GEMITH) team from the novice provider to the 36-year veteran of healthcare delivery?

The GEMITH treating team represented in the panel includes a pharmacist, instrumental in assessing and implementing a safe medication prescribing and dispensing system. A nurse who triaged and followed the patient through her journey will discuss the nursing concerns throughout the variety of health facilities attended. The GEMITH social worker and social worker advanced, Aged Response who provided a consultation role and subsequent follow-up will discuss the complexity of hospital and healthcare facilities and associated systems that impacted the patient, her progress through these facilities and journey throughout the judicial system. A geriatrician will highlight expectations of the medical profession that obscure the reality of domestic violence for the elderly.

We will explore the importance of social connections to empower older people and reduce risk factors for DFV, the challenges of navigating different systems offering intervention for people in need of protection as well as working within complex family dynamics. We have a collective responsibility to seek solutions and contribute towards systematic and policy changes in this area.

A question and answer session will allow for “lessons learned” and discussions around future directions on domestic violence in the elderly.


Deidre Venz is an AASW accredited mental health social worker and holds a role with Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service as Social Worker Advanced, Aged Response. Deidre has extensive experience across both community and health sectors having worked with older persons developing a specialty within complex age-related presentations including elder abuse. Deidre also has degrees in Nursing and a Master of Counselling and is Co-Convenor of the Gold Coast Social Work Practice Group and Gold Coast Elder Abuse Project and currently sits on the CNAP 65+ and Gold Coast Elder Abuse Rapid Response panels.

For further information and to book tickets for the 2018 STOP Domestic Violence Conference please visit

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