Launch of March elder abuse group

A NEWLY established charity, which aims to combat abuse of the elderly, holds its public launch on Tuesday (July 31) in March’s St Peter’s Church from noon to 2pm.

Action on Elder Abuse (AEA) is a national charity funded by Comic Relief for four years from 2008-2011 to consult victims of elder abuse and develop and pilot a process to support victims to recover from the psychological and emotional effects of their experiences.

The pilot study took place during 2010-2011 and it resulted in a successful peer support process of one-to-one ‘buddying’ by trained volunteer older people which supports victims not only to recover from their traumas but also to regain their confidence and independence.

At the end of the pilot study, the Department of Health funded AEA by setting up voluntary community groups in five locations with the aims to raise awareness of elder abuse in their local communities, act as buddies to work with victims, offer peer support to older people who are at risk or who have recovered from abuse, visit care homes, nursing homes and hospitals to provide points of contact for older residents and patients, provide a source of experience for consultation by organisations working with older people and developing services and policies.

The first AEA Group was set up in West Sussex and has been very successful. Since then, the trained volunteer buddies that took part in the pilot study in Cambridgeshire have started to meet as a new AEA group in March and are already supporting two victims of elder abuse to recover.

The group’s catchment area is mainly Fenland and the launch highlights the free service which is available. Anyone interested in learning more about elder abuse and the work of the March group is invited to attend, and older people will be especially welcome.

It will start with a free buffet lunch at noon and will include a keynote speech by the chief executive of AEA, Gary FitzGerald, a performance by members of the group of a common abuse scenario, a re-enacted interview with a real survivor of abuse who successfully recovered from the effects of his experience with the support of an AEA buddy, a brief outline of the buddying process, a time for questions and the chance to sign up as a volunteer or find out how to use the AEA March Group’s free service.

AEA wants to hear the views of the public on this very serious issue of the abuse of the older members of its local communities. Anyone wanting more information should call Dee Potter (March Action on Elder Abuse secretary/volunteer organiser) on 07902118773.