AN innovative community-based scheme to crack down on elderly abuse is being pioneered in Adur and Worthing.
Action on Elderly Abuse (AEA) is launching its first support group run by older volunteers to help provide a centralised point of expertise on elder abuse.
It is hoped by having dedicated older people offering support to their peers it will encourage those suffering in silence to come forward.
The project will be based in Lancing but is aimed at pensioners across Adur and Worthing.
Gary FitzGerald, chief executive of AEA, said it was important to raise awareness about elder abuse, comparing it to the seriousness of child abuse.
He said Adur and Worthing had been chosen due to its “community spirit” and its high number of older people.
“We are looking at areas where there are high numbers of older people living and where there is an established community,” he said.
“Lancing has a good community spirit already and has local organisations who are quite supportive of what we are trying to do.”
Gloria Eveleigh, project co-ordinator, added: “Lancing has a very good community spirit here and people do actually care about the older people in the community.
“The nice part about this project is volunteers are being encouraged to run their own group and we will have people to support them.”
Once the scheme is up and running it is hoped volunteers will be “buddies” to victims of abuse and offer peer support for older adults at risk.
A team will also be created to challenge poor practice in local hospitals and care homes and help other organisations spot signs of abuse.
The project will run for three years and has been funded by the Department of Health, costing £50,000 a year.
If the Adur scheme is a success, the charity hopes to expand and start another 14 groups across the country.
The project launch will take place in Lancing Parish Hall, South Street, on Thursday, August 25, at 2pm and is open to anyone interested in finding out more.