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Elder Abuse

Elder abuse usually takes place where the victim lives. This is often in their own home or in the home of a relative with whom they live. It also occurs in institutions that care for the elderly. Consequently the harm is not only the physical or mental trauma that results, but also the betrayal of trust that the abuse represents. These articles address restorative responses to these issues.

Groh, Arlene. A Healing Approach to Elder Abuse and Mistreatment: The Restorative Approaches to Elder Abuse Project.
Elder abuse is often referred to as a hidden crime, writes Arlene Groh. This fact led to the development of the Restorative Justice Approaches to Elder Abuse Project in the Waterloo region of Ontario. The aim of the project is to seek a healing, safe approach to elder abuse. This document covers key elements in the development, operation, and evaluation of that project. Contents of the manual include the following: the project mission; the nature, causes, and prevalence of elder abuse; restorative justice and elder abuse; project development; integration of restorative justice into the project's approach to elder abuse; the case process; project evaluation; the future of the project; and appendices relevant to the operation of the elder abuse project.
Vernon-Scott, Sarah A. Rethinking Elder Abuse: Words and Actions
The main purpose of this study was to determine the quality and impact of various presentations of elder abuse information to establish the most effective ways to educate the public about elder abuse. Secondary to this purpose was to explore aspects of restorative justice interventions for elder abuse cases. The first experiment involved three pamphlets with similar content that were presented with titles reflecting different conceptual frameworks; elder abuse, conflict resolution, and empowerment. The pamphlets were simultaneously made available at a seniors centre to determine any differences in frequency of pamphlet selection. Elder abuse was the least selected pamphlet, offering empirical evidence to the claim that people avoid materials with the words elder abuse on them. The second experiment involved students reading one of 6 pamphlets with similar content but with the wording varied on two dimensions; type of conceptual framework, and tone (emotional versus neutral wording). The student participants rated the quality and impact of the information, answered items about their knowledge, beliefs and attitudes about elder abuse, and provided some basic demographic information. Elder abuse pamphlets were rated to have higher impact than other messages. It appears that although elder abuse messages have the most impact for students, the seniors are less likely to pick up educational material using this language; so alternate wordings may be the best solution to deliver the message about elder abuse to the most people. Author's abstract.
Groh, Arlene. Restorative Justice: A Healing Approach to Elder Abuse
In this paper Arlene Groh reports on the Restorative Justice Approaches to Elder Abuse Project. This project is a collaboration of local community agencies in the Kitchener-Waterloo area of southwestern Ontario. The mission is to provide an opportunity for change and healing to people affected by elder abuse. To explain the project, Groh discusses the nature of elder abuse, principles and foundations of restorative justice, the restorative justice process as applied to cases of elder abuse, and the role of the faith community in the project.

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