The Forget Me Not Project

Newcastle Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (NWDVCAS) works locally with older women to uphold their legal rights to be safe from abuse and violent behaviour.

Older women have the right to live in safety, to be treated with dignity and respect and to make their own decisions.

Our aim is to assist you to be safe and in healthy relationships. We will be there to support you through the court and legal system. We will also provide information and referrals to a range of services that will assist you and your loved ones to help stop the abuse.

What is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse is any act which causes harm to an older person and is carried out by someone they know and trust such as family or friends.

The abuse can be verbal harassment, neglect of a person’s needs, physical, financial, emotional and or social.

Often more than one type of abuse is used.  No one deserves to be abused.

Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) and the Law

Some older women do not feel safe because they experience violence, abuse or harassment from a family member, partner, neighbour, carer, friend or support person.  Abuse can come in many forms.

If you make a report to the police, they can apply for an AVO on your behalf.  The AVO can include specific conditions that will keep you safe.  Some of the conditions on the AVO can be simple, such as the person cannot assault or threaten you; or that the person cannot live at or visit your home.

Getting an AVO

Police can apply on your behalf. There are specially trained domestic violence police officers called Domestic Violence Liaison Officers DVLO’s

What is an Aprehended Violence Order (AVO)

  • An AVO is an order made by the court telling a person to stop hurting or harassing you.
  • An AVO can also include your kids and other members of your family.
  • An AVO is not a criminal charge. It is an order for your future protection.

Call the police on triple zero (000) if your AVO is breached by the defendant.

Our Service works with women who are experiencing domestic violence, family violence and elder abuse. We advocate on your behalf with the Police and Police Prosecutors, and we can talk to you about the court process. Our role is to try to assist you to get a legal outcome that will keep you safe and in your own home.

We service the Lake Macquarie and Newcastle areas.

Steps to a safety plan

A safety plan can help an older woman create a safer environment and feel more confident and in control, reducing fear and stress. Steps you can start to take:

  • Report to police and obtain an AVO on the abuser
  • Consider getting a personal safety alarm
  • Talk to and advise neighbours
  • Make a code word to signal neighbours or friends that they need to call 000
  • Keep a list of up-to-date telephone numbers
  • Get a mobile phone (a user-friendly, easy to read model)
  • Plan a safe place where you can go if the person starts to be abusive
  • Prepare an “emergency bag”
  • Plan for the safety of pets
  • Leave items you may need with someone you trust
  • Plan an escape route out of the house.

A safety plan is a plan of action to help older women protect themselves from abuse.

Older women experiencing abuse can also report to:

NSW Ageing and Disability Abuse Helpline

1800 628 221 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 4pm)


Contact the Legal Aid team of the Central Coast and Hunter Elder Abuse Collaborative on:

(02) 4324 5611.