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Nick supports programs to protect older Western Australians from abuse

1 November, 2021

UWA Psychology student Nick Hodgkinson has contributed 100 hours towards improving support for older Western Australians who are experiencing abuse.

In this research-focused role at UWA’s Social Care and Ageing Living (SAGE) Lab, completed through the McCusker Centre for Citizenship, Nick was exposed to the challenging issue of elder abuse.

“Very few community members are aware that older people are victims of abuse,” said Nick, “There continues to be a number of vulnerable older people in the community who remain unable to access appropriate healthcare, legal and financial specialists who can help to remedy the effects of abuse.”

Interning with SAGE Lab saw Nick undertake a wide range of research tasks - including data analysis, literature reviews and gaining feedback from key stakeholders - to help the team provide valuable information to service providers in metro and regional Western Australian communities.

The SAGE Lab research into elder abuse also seeks to better understand the experience of vulnerable groups of older people in Western Australia, including older people from marginal populations such as culturally and language diverse backgrounds, LGBTIQA and older people living in regional and remote Western Australia.

Nick says a highlight of the internship was being able to learn from the SAGE Lab team and seeing the important collaborative work being done between researchers and community service providers to co-design responses to improve support for victims of elder abuse.

 “The SAGE Lab is host to a number of talented academics and postgraduate students who were continuously supportive. They helped me to develop a rich knowledge of the topic in a relatively short time,” said Nick.

The SAGE Lab team were thankful for Nick’s contributions to the project.

“We all enjoyed having Nick intern with the SAGE Lab. He brought diligent enthusiasm, a critical eye for good writing and, most importantly, a willingness to question assumptions and interrogate ideas in his work.  Nick made a meaningful contribution to our project researching responses to the abuse of older people in Western Australia,” said UWA SAGE Lab Manager, Research Engagement, Dr Catriona Stevens.

Nick recommends the McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship program to other students, noting the broad scope of internships allow for specific interests and gaining specialist knowledge.

“My McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship experiences have afforded me with important opportunities that are required in order to develop into an active citizen,” says Nick.