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A Global Response to Elder Abuse - page 39 / 149

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PAGE 24

adapted to local intervention possibilities was considered to be necessary. e form was viewed as limiting and not providing ample space for the social workers con- ducting the assessment to explore further. Moreover, possibilities for intervention often depend on the existing legislation. Intervention orders, where they exist, are frequently difficult to enforce due to reluc- tance on the part of the victim to continu- ally report the perpetrator (often somebody close), the general physical vulnerability of the older person and, sometimes, a lack of police understanding and/or capacity to deal with the situation.

  • e following suggestions were made in

order to make the form more applicable:

  • • 

    e form could be used over a number

of visits once trust is established.

e use of the form should be indi- vidualized, depending on the particular circumstances of the older person. Only the parts that are relevant to the social worker’s suspicion (e.g. financial abuse) should be used. Its application could be limited to specific areas such as living conditions, family dynamics, addictions of any family members, degree of physi- cal and economic dependence of the older person and social and emotional isolation.

For a crisis management/intervention situation such as elder abuse, the ques- tions should be narrowed down and should focus more on analysing the seriousness, history and frequency of the abuse.

  • In order to shorten the form, the intro- ductory part could be omitted (up to Question 19), since this information is available from other sources, for exam- ple from medical records.

Apart from the form, the participants thought that a number of initiatives were needed. Preventive measures should be in place, such as better support for carers, more professionals dealing with the issue, including the police, and a greater aware- ness in the community of elder abuse and its devastating effects. Older people should have access to on-call 24-hour support to report abuse cases or to obtain informa- tion. Greater use of existing legislation relating to sexual abuse, assault and fam- ily violence, which is currently not used or not used sufficiently in elder abuse, is recommended. Interdisciplinary collabo- ration involving, for example, general practitioners, social workers and visiting nurses, is crucial and could be improved by organizing round tables for the different stakeholders, including the older people, to share experiences, disseminate informa- tion and offer solutions. e teams would hold case meetings and develop individual strategic plans to protect older people in their homes who were at risk or who had taken out intervention orders, where these exist, against an abuser. is would need to be accompanied by regular home visits in order to improve protection for older people.

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