EAVA, integral service against elder abuse

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EAVA, integral service against elder abuse

Regional Council of Anoia

Service specialised in the detection and accompaniment of elderly people in the county of Anoia. Promoted and financed by the Consell Comarcal, the aim of the team is to detect and prevent situations of abuse, on the one hand, and to offer multidisciplinary care to protect and reduce the possible damage caused in these situations, on the other.

The Anoia Elderly Care Team (EAVA) is a pioneering public service in Europe that makes visible and tackles a problem that is gaining strength in the context of generalised population ageing. According to the World Health Organisation, 15% of people over the age of 65 suffer abuse, although the official data do not reflect this figure because reporting is rare.

The service is mainly aimed at elderly people who are known or suspected of suffering situations of abuse –physical, psychological, sexual or economic or derived from abandonment, negligence, self-neglect and violation of rights– both at home and in institutions. According to the statistics presented by the EAVA, elder abuse is feminised –more than 75% of the cases are women– and the aggressors are mostly children and non-professional carers.

The team is multidisciplinary; it is composed by a network of experts from different fields to offer a comprehensive view of the situation. It coordinates on a daily basis with the professionals who care for the elderly to detect suspicions and emergencies and prevent abuse. It also advises, assesses and intervenes on a case-by-case basis. Generally, the unit opts for mediation rather than legal action, although if it does so, it offers the elderly accompaniment before the courts. However, the direction of the service is not unidirectional: any professional in the field of social services, social entities and health services can request the team’s service and jointly coordinate individualised care.

Thus, the EAVA highlights the need for co-operation between a wide co-ordinated network to detect and take action against elder abuse. The collaboration is intended to be comprehensive and to go beyond social services, including notaries and bank offices in the county useful for detecting financial abuse. In this sense, given that the membership and impact of the team’s actions require efficient coordination, the EAVA has provided training to health personnel, social service workers, judges and regional police officers.

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