Developing New Services
As professionals achieve a clearer understanding of the needs of abuse victims and persons at risk, the need for new and expanded services is also being recognized. Careful planning can ensure that new services are appropriate, effective, and cost effective.
How can communities identify unmet service needs?
- Surveys or needs assessments
- Formal or informal discussions with professionals who are currently serving victims or who are likely to observe abuse. Elder abuse multidisciplinary teams can provide an excellent forum for discussing the need for new services. Groups can plan special sessions to do so or make it a part of their regular agenda
- Special sessions at conferences
- Focus groups
What actions can be taken to fill service gaps?
- Inform community agencies that provide related services about the newly identified need and assess their willingness to build upon their current program.
- Inform agencies that provide related services to the non-elderly (e.g. domestic violence prevention programs) to assess their interest in adapting their programs to meet the needs of older women.
- Inform policymakers, legislators, program directors, and foundations. This can be done by providing testimony at hearings or arranging special meetings with policymakers.
What special services have been developed for elder victims of abuse?
- Support groups
- Counseling programs
- Victim advocacy
- Volunteer programs that provide companionship, respite, court accompaniment, etc.