Action on Elder Abuse (AEA) is a specialist organisation that operates across the four nations of the United Kingdom. It also provides some support within Ireland. Unlike other 'older people's organisations' we focus exclusively on the issue of elder abuse, not as one issue among many, but as a single focus to our work. For this reason we have extensive expertise that is not available from any other charity or agency.
We are a multi-disciplinary membership organisation, and our members are drawn from health and social care services, regulators, policy makers, academics, and members of the public, including older people, their families and friends. We aim to prevent the abuse of older people by raising awareness; encouraging education; promoting research; and collecting and disseminating information.
In 1993 we established the following definition of elder abuse. This has been subsequently adopted by the World Health Organisation, is promoted by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, and has been variously adopted by countries throughout the World, including the Republic of Ireland (with a slight addition):
It has at its heart the 'expectation of trust' that an older person may rightly establish with another person, but which is subsequently violated. For this reason we do not involve ourselves with actions that relate to strangers, unless those strangers have abused the expectation of trust.
One key way in which we address elder abuse is through our unique confidential freephone helpline, which provides information, advice and support to victims and others who are concerned about or have witnessed abuse. This helpline is available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, in both the UK and the Republic of Ireland (two separate numbers).
We can also operate specialist helplines for care providers, providing whistleblowing advice and support to residents, relatives and staff (contact us if you would like to be part of this service). These helplines not only provide direct advice and help to people who may be in danger of experiencing abuse but they also provide unique information on the nature, circumstances and dynamics of elder abuse. Ring us on: 0808 8088 141
Our vision is a society which values older people and one in which they and other adults can live free from abuse perpetrated by those in whom they have an expectation of trust. Where such abuse occurs we seek an environment in which it can be identified and addressed.
We want to facilitate actions and create circumstances that prevent abuse. It is better to prevent abusive situations than to intervene afterward to protect; We want to encourage timely and effective intervention to protect when abuse occurs.
The circumstances of abuse often mean that the impact is profound and opportunities for intervention are limited; We want to increase awareness of abuse at an individual and societal level.
By doing so we increase the ability of people to recognise, identify and take action against elder abuse; We want to increase the awareness of abuse of all those working with or having a responsibility for adults at risk of abuse.
By doing so we increase the ability of practitioners and others to respond appropriately to circumstances of abuse; We want to encourage genuine empowerment, free from coercion, which allows people to make informed choices about their lives.