‘Tackle advocacy shortage to combat elder abuse’

Independent advocacy can play a significant role in helping older people combat abuse but access to services remains limited, a report said today.

A study of 98 cases in which advocates had supported alleged abuse victims, from 2007-8, found abuse had been stopped in 46%, reduced in 11% and prevented in 17% of cases, in the judgement of advocacy schemes.

Goals achieved

The Swansea University research, commissioned by Action on Elder Abuse and the Older People’s Advocacy Alliance, found older people’s goals for the advocacy were fully achieved in 36% of cases and partially in 36%.

Forms of support included representing older people during multi-agency safeguarding adults meetings (31% of cases) and providing information about rights and choices (12%).

Third of older people empowered

The study, involving seven advocacy organisations in England, also found 42% of older people had felt informed during the process and 31% empowered.

However, it said access to advocacy was patchy nationally and that relationships between safeguarding teams and advocacy providers needed to improve, and called for a project to develop best practice in this area.

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