MEDIA RELEASE: Barwon Urban Knitting Community Project Aims to Raise Awareness of Elder Abuse - Barwon Community Legal Service

MEDIA RELEASE: Barwon Urban Knitting Community Project Aims to Raise Awareness of Elder Abuse

Barwon Community Legal Service (BCLS) is encouraging community members to get their knitting needles ready as they launch an exciting initiative aimed at bringing our community together while shining a vibrant spotlight on the important and often invisible issue of elder abuse.

Introducing the Barwon Urban Knitting Community Project, a dynamic endeavour led by the Barwon Elder Abuse Primary Prevention Network (BEAPP), which is convened by BCLS.

“This project isn’t just about crochet and knitting; it’s about weaving connections, breaking barriers, fostering understanding and sparking important conversations”, says Bryanna Connell, CEO of Barwon Community Legal Service

The project aims to make colourful blankets, beanies, and more, all crafted by members of the local community.  Collaborating with craft groups from neighbourhood houses, libraries, and community hubs,   this initiative extends a compelling call to action. Its overarching goal is to challenge stereotypes, giving voice to the diverse perspective within community while fostering an environment that values, respects and celebrates individuals of all ages. By embracing the collective creativity of our community, the project endeavours to weave a tapestry of inclusivity and unity.

Ms Connell says, “Using craft is a great way to bring people together, working towards a common goal whilst having important conversations about issues that impact our community.” Ms. Connell invites the community to stay connected and inspired.  “We will periodically be posting craft inspiration on our BCLS social media pages and we encourage everyone to join the conversation and contribute to the collective community engagement. Connect with us on social media to be a part of this creative and impactful dialogue!

To celebrate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15th, handmade treasures will be proudly displayed at the Geelong Library & Heritage Centre for the entire month of June. Following the exhibition, these crafted items will be donated to organisations supporting vulnerable individuals, like Geelong Mums, providing warmth and comfort to those in need.

“This artistic endeavour aims to pay tribute to the valuable contributions made by all participants involved. We hope this will foster a world where the accomplishments of older individuals are not only recognised, but celebrated by the community,” says Ms Connell.

In 2023, BCLS assisted 161 clients over 65, comprising 9.4% of its total clients, with family violence being the most common legal issue, accounting for approximately 65% of all cases.  “Elder abuse often goes unreported as victims don’t know where to turn to for help or fear of losing close family relationships if they take action to stop the abuse.” says Ms Connell.

Those interested in participating in or learning more about the Barwon Urban Knitting Community Project can email  or call 1300 430 599.

The Need for Action

In 2020, the Australian Institute of Family Studies National Elder Abuse Prevalence Study found that one in six older adults experienced elder abuse, yet only one-third of those sought help. Technology-based abuse is also rising, affecting one in three individuals aged 65 to 74. Elder abuse is often underreported due to victims’ fear of repercussions or lack of knowledge about where to seek help.

The Barwon Elder Abuse Primary Prevention Network formed as part of the Royal Commission into Family Violence recommendations, is one of Victoria’s ten Elder Abuse Prevention Networks, is supported by the Victorian Government and led by BCLS. Their mission is to combat elder abuse through community awareness and advocacy.

Last year, the network organised the Barwon Warm Safe Home project, distributing cardboard houses to over 1000 community members to express their vision of a ‘warm safe home’. This brought together diverse individuals and organisations to collectively raise awareness of the fact that everyone deserves the right to a ‘warm safe home’.

Connect With Us

If you or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse, you’re not alone. Contact Barwon Community Legal Service for support at 1300 430 599 or the Orange Door on xx Dial 000 in case of an emergency.

Barwon Community Legal Service is an independent Community Legal Service that is funded by the State and Federal Governments to provide free legal information, advice, and casework to members of our local community.

For all media enquiries contact Bryanna Connell, Chief Executive Officer on 0411343722 or

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