CCR: Coordinated Community Response to Abuse of Seniors – A Whole Community Approach
These elements of a Coordinated Community Response have been identified as a result of more than fifteen years of experience with capacity building to address abuse in BC. Since 1995 more than 70 BC communities have been invited to develop networks and undertake activities to work toward a Coordinated Community Response.
This list of elements is a result of the independent process that communities went through in the early years to create a Coordinated Community Response. Without contact with one another, they all identified the same key elements.
What Is a Network?
In this whole community model, a “network” is a diverse group of concerned community members who come together to create a Coordinated Community Response to abuse of older adults.
Many jurisdictions have such networks, although they may be known by other names. Ideally, a local network strives to be a microcosm of the community we want to live in – one in which everyone is welcomed and valued.
Abuse and neglect of older adults affects both individuals and communities. We all, as concerned community members or responders, have a role to play to respond and prevent this complex social, justice and health issue.
Using This Tool
This tool can be used by:
- new networks to get acquainted with the elements of a Coordinated Community Response so they can assess gaps and overlaps to help decide which activities to undertake
- more well-established networks to assess progress and to identify a work plan for activities to be undertaken
There is no right or wrong activity to undertake first to begin developing your local network. Every community is unique. Just invite the people you think are interested and pick somewhere to start.
1. Guiding Principles
How we treat each other is as important as what we do together if we want to model non-violence:
- Broad inclusion – everyone is welcome to participate as they are able, at any time
- Meaningful participation – everyone will contribute in their own way
- Power-sharing – everyone has equal power to influence the direction the network takes
- Assume capability/build capacity – everyone has something to learn and something to teach while working together in the network
Do we want these community development principles to guide us in network development and maintenance?
2. Ongoing Outreach for Diverse Membership
Aim to include:
- People more personally affected by abuse – people closer to the experience of abuse with no requirement that they self-disclose: concerned citizens, older adults/elders, etc.
- People working in the non-profit and less formal sectors – senior’s centres/programs, transition houses/shelters, faith communities, Aboriginal organizations, multicultural agencies, service clubs, financial institutions, businesses, etc.
- People from the more formal systems – health services/agencies, adult protection workers, police, etc.
Who do we want to invite to our network to keep working toward it being as reflective of the diversity of our community as possible?
3. Public Awareness/Education
Provide information about:
- Recognizing abuse
- What neighbours, friends, families can do
- Who can help, who to call
- The rights of older adults, staying safe, addressing “isms” such as ageism, and other prevention tools and approaches
What do our various network members/supporters think is needed with regard to public education – which topics/issues, for who?
4. Professional Awareness/Education
Provide information about:
- Recognizing abuse
- Tools for detecting, intervening
- How to intervene safely, sensitively
- What the various agencies/programs can do to assist, and their processes, mandates
What do our various network members/supporters think is needed with regard to professional education – which topics/ issues, for who?
5. Relationship/Team/Community Building
People get the best help when those involved are working well together. This requires:
- A commitment to inter-professionalism
- Solid and trusting working relationships
What builds solid relationships? How will we build and maintain these relationships to ensure older adults get the most effective support and assistance possible?
6. Protocol Development
Protocols, which can be thought of as commitments or agreements, can cover topics such as information sharing, who will do what when, and when referrals for help will be made to others.
There are three interrelated types:
- agency protocols – internal policies that outline the role, the mandate and the limits that the agency commits to on behalf of the board, staff and volunteers
- inter-agency protocols – agreements that two or more agencies make to collaborate on how they will respond together, often in the most complex abuse situations
- community protocols – commitments that all network members make to each other about how they can be relied upon to respond
What protocols do we have and/or need in our community? What are the pros and cons of having written protocols? What are the pros and cons of having them officially signed by someone who can commit the organization?
7. Case Consultation/Case Review
In this model, networks as a whole do not deal with individual abuse situations. Rather, networks influence the community context in which people work together to provide help.
Anyone who responds to cases and/or is a member of a case consultation or review team in your community is an integral network member.
Do we have or want to have a case consultation or case review committee in our community? Have we invited a representative to join the network?
8. Link to Related Initiatives
It can be very effective to link your network’s work with other initiatives happening in the community, such as:
- Family violence initiatives
- Age friendly communities
- Active living/healthy aging initiatives
- Health and wellness initiatives
- Proclaimed special days, weeks and months such as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, etc.
- Ethnocultural events
- Community planning/social planning initiatives
- Other networks or coordinating mechanisms
What is the activity we plan to undertake, and are there benefits to doing it in conjunction with another initiative?
9. Keeping Track of the Community’s Response
Your network can look at how things are working in the community and work constructively and collaboratively together toward continuous improvement:
- Celebrate successes
- Identify any projects or approaches that could improve access to help for older adults
10. Administrative Infrastructure
The following structural issues need to be addressed to facilitate the smooth operation of the network:
- Terms of Reference – Outlining what the network does and does not do
- Name of the group – Community Response Network, Elder Abuse Network, or ________?
- Structure – How the work of the group will get done – Is there a steering committee, a coordinator? Is it a stand alone network or committee? A subcommittee reporting to a committee?
- Resources – People, skills, funds etc.
What are we proud of? What still needs attention? Have we met the goals we set for creating a Coordinated Community Response in our community? How will we evaluate our network’s impact?
Many Community Elements can be worked on at the provincial/territorial level. There are also the following additional Provincial/Territorial Elements that can support local networks:
- A Provincial/Territorial Strategy that is funded, developed and/or implemented by government, community or a combination. It can include guiding principles, an awareness campaign, training for responders, an annual conference, and support for local networks.
- A Provincial/Territorial Toll Free Phone Number to Call to Get Help – Can be a dedicated abuse of older adults line or one that provides support and assistance to a more generalized group of people such as those who have been victimized.
- Effective, Comprehensive Legislation – The Criminal Code outlines offences and remedies throughout Canada for forms of abuse that constitute crimes. In addition, every province and territory in Canada has a unique mix of adult guardianship, adult protection, family violence, protection for persons in care, housing, and/or consumer protection legislation that, when taken together, ideally provide a good response for older adults who are abused.
- Links to the National Scene – Linking with organizations such as the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (CNPEA), National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE), National Seniors Council and the Canadian Centre for Elder Law is a way to keep learning about new developments in the field that the local network might want to implement.
Which community elements are relevant and should be worked on at the provincial/ territorial level? Which of these provincial elements do we already have? Which ones would we like to have? How we can we work collaboratively toward putting them in place?
For more information about the elements of a Coordinated Community Response and associated examples, visit the BC Association of Community Response Networks website: http://www.bccrns.ca
For more information about the status of network building and associated resources and responses to abuse of older adults in various jurisdictions in Canada, contact:
Alberta Abuse Awareness Network:
Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters:
BC Association of Community Response Networks:
http://www.bccrns.ca/ or 604-513-9758
Manitoba Seniors and Healthy Aging Secretariat:
New Brunswick Department of Social Development:
Newfoundland and Labrador – Seniors Resource Centre of Newfoundland and Labrador:
Nova Scotia Department of Seniors:
http://www.gov.ns.ca/seniors or 1-800-670-0065
Nunavut Elders Support Phone Line:
NWT Seniors Society:
Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse:
Prince Edward Island Centre on Health and Aging:
http://www.upei.ca/projects/csha/ or 902-894-2841
Quebec Governmental Action Plan to Counter Elder Abuse 2010 - 2015:
Saskatchewan Seniors Mechanism:
Yukon Health and Social Services, Seniors Services / Adult Protection Unit:
This information prepared in conjunction with the BC Association of Community Response Networks, Government of Canada's Networks of Centre of Excellence and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), and NICE.