Rhea, a 75-year-old pensioner, had contributed her life savings of $200,000 to the purchase of a home costing $420,000, which she understood she would own jointly with her son Peter. Unfortunately, Peter had misled her about the ownership of the home and Rhea discovered several years later that the property was owned by a company controlled by son Peter and daughter-in-law. Additionally, the house loan was close to $420,000 with no sign of the $200,000 of her own money that she had contributed. This was very concerning to Rhea particularly as Peter had previously lost large sums of money in risky business ventures.
When Rhea raised her concerns about the situation and the loan with Peter, he became emotionally and verbally abusive towards her. Rhea needed to take medication and go to therapy to cope with the impact of this elder abuse.
Eventually, Rhea was referred to Caxton Legal Centre’s Seniors Legal and Support Service (SLASS), a specialist integrated legal and social work service, which responds to elder abuse. The legal team at SLASS provided advice to help Rhea understand her legal rights and advocate for her needs. Social workers supported Rhea to have the confidence to speak out about her story and survive the emotional abuse and stress that the situation had created. Additionally, Caxton’s strong referral partnerships enabled Rhea to obtain free ongoing legal representation to stand for her in continuing litigation. Caxton’s social worker continues to support Rhea through the legal process.