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A Global Response to Elder Abuse - page 144 / 149





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“Has anyone hit, threatened or frightened you physically? Has anyone sexually abused you or tried to abuse you?”

Focus groups with PHC professionals (bank of 12 questions)

Two groups discussed the bank of 12 ques- tions. One group chose the five most rel- evant questions: Questions 3, 4, 5, 8 and 11.

  • e questionnaire with 12 items was

considered too long, making it difficult to retain an older person’s attention. Question 1 was thought to be redundant. Several questions could be combined into one, for example Questions 2 and 3, and Questions 6, 7 and 8 referred to the same question asking about a person’s personal autonomy and could therefore be combined. A simi- lar debate arose for the last two questions. Although these questions tackled two different categories of abuse (sexual and physical abuse), older people might be more reluctant to answer a question about sexual abuse when such a question was posed more directly.

Some felt that the style of the question- naire was too Anglo-Saxon and viewed the phrasing as inappropriate. e time frame should be specified further. Moreover, the term “basic daily needs” (Question 3) required further clarification. Question 4 was not precise enough, as it was not clear


whether the phrase “Has anyone prevented you from” referred to a person or an ab- stract body (for example, the community). Question 5 contained too many different adjectives that described different states of moods and feelings. Before administering the questionnaire, previous instructions and information must be given to both the physician and the older person.


Workshop with social workers

Ten female social workers, chosen ran- domly from various health centres in the municipality of Madrid, participated in this workshop to discuss the SWEF and further issues related to elder abuse. e Form was sent to them a week in advance to familiar- ize them with its content.

  • e social workers’ clientele comprised

mostly immigrants and older people covering all ranges of socioeconomic backgrounds. None of the social workers had previously worked in the area of elder abuse, but they had received training and information on child abuse and gender- based violence.

  • e participants mentioned the absence of

specific protocols and guidelines concern- ing the prevention, assessment and inter- vention of elder abuse. PHC professionals who referred abuse cases to social workers did so because they were sensitized and motivated and not because they felt obliged to act according to guidelines. A significant shortfall they pointed out was the lack of

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