Ready To Listen

10 actions required for residential aged care service providers to be #ReadyToListen to disclosure of sexual assault

An estimated
50 sexual assaults take place in residential aged care in Australia
every week. 

Older people also experience sexual assault in their own homes. The trauma they experience is compounded by the lack of education for service providers.

With limited knowledge about sexual assault, service providers do not fully understand the power they have to prevent sexual assault.

Ready to listen signs


#ReadyToListen was launched in 2021 to improve responses to and prevent sexual assault in residential aged care.

The project was funded by the Department of Health and led by the Older Persons Advocacy Network, in partnership with Celebrate Ageing and the Older Women’s Network, New South Wales.

At the heart of the #ReadyToListen project is a MAP (myths, facts and practical strategies). It outlines 10 ways in which residential aged care service providers can improve their responses to – and prevent – sexual assault.

Show Your Support To End the Sexual Assaults in Aged Care!

Download and print the sign, add your name, take a photo, upload on your social media and add the hashtag, #ReadyToListen, so we can find you!

Dan Barret is holding up the sign, Ready to Listen


The following resources include the overall MAP guidelines and audit as well as other educational resources:

  • MAP Guidelines – overview of the 10 elements
  • MAP Audit tool – tool for self-audit against the elements
  • Dementia MAP – application of the MAP to the needs of people with dementia
  • Cultural lens MAP – considering diverse cultural perspectives on the MAP
  • Online workshops
  • Project report

…of the almost one in six (14.8 per cent) older people who reported experiencing abuse in last year’s National Elder Abuse Prevalence Study, only one-third had sought help.

OPAN CEO Craig Gear

Ready To Listen Logo


The MAP offers a suite of resources that can be localised to the context of each state/territory and the internal processes of each residential aged care service.

The MAP approach recognises that ‘one off education’ is not enough. It requires guidelines for resident care, information for residents and families, education for staff, frameworks for change, organisational policies and an audit tool.

MAP Element 1: Understanding sexual assault definitions and prevalence

Education and resources are provided to ensure staff understand sexual assault definitions and prevalence.

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MAP Element 2: Determining sexual consent

Information and education are provided to ensure staff, residents and families understand resident’s sexual rights and responsibilities and staff rights and responsibilities in this context.

The Charter outlines 14 rights and responsibilities of residents and staff in residential aged care. The aim is to support prevention of sexual assault in residential aged care, by clarifying when sexual activity is acceptable – and when is not.

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MAP Element 3: Assessing the indicators of sexual assault

The physical and psychological indicators of sexual assault are understood and prompt staff to check whether sexual assault has occurred.

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MAP Element 4: Identifying the impacts of sexual assault

The impacts of sexual assault are understood and prompt staff to implement strategies to support victims/survivors and prevent sexual assault.

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MAP Element 5: Complying with reporting requirements

Staff understand and comply with reporting requirements under SIRS and understand when sexual assault should be reported to the police.

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MAP Element 6: ​Providing immediate safety and support

Staff support victim/survivors who disclose sexual assault, provide information on sexual assault and advocacy services, and ensure immediate safety.

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MAP Element 7: Practicing open disclosure

Staff understand and implement practical strategies for communicating about sexual assault in ways that are honest, timely, ethically responsible, and professionally expected.

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MAP Element 8: Providing trauma informed residential aged care

The service implements practical strategies to promote trauma informed responses that support victim/survivors, other residents and staff.

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    MAP Element 9: Recognising and reducing resident vulnerability

    Staff recognise factors that contribute to residents’ vulnerability to sexual assault and take steps to reduce this vulnerability.

    Read more ›

    MAP Element 10: Protection, prevention and service improvement

    The organisation has a sexual assault policy or guidelines and audits its service against the #ReadyToListen MAP Guidelines, to identify and make improvements.

    Read more ›

    Contact us 

    If you would like more information about this project, please contact:

    Project partners

    The #ReadyToListen project has been funded by the Department of Health and is being delivered by the Older Person’s Advocacy Network, in partnership with Celebrate Ageing and the Older Women’s Network, New South Wales.

    The Project Coordinator, Dr Catherine Barrett, is the Director of Celebrate Ageing and long term advocate for prevention of the sexual assault of older women.

    OPAN logo
    Celebrate Ageing logo

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