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Building Community Bridges: Outreach to At Risk Older Women

A Project of the BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support (BC CEAS)

The BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support (BC CEAS), with funding from the Ministry of Justice, Victim Service & Crime Prevention Division, has begun work on the Building Community Bridges: Outreach to At Risk Older Women project.

As part of this project, six support groups for older women, aged 50+, will be established at six independent living facilities in Vancouver, Richmond and Surrey. The six support groups will be facilitated by a Support Group Coordinator with the assistance of 12 trained older adult volunteers.

Through a series of 10 workshop sessions, the support groups will provide the older women with education and information on elder abuse, domestic violence, the justice system, safety and security, victim services, community resources, and coordinated response networks. The project is part of BC CEAS’ outreach strategy to reach isolated and vulnerable older adults.

The support groups will provide the older women with an opportunity to build closer relationships and develop connections with other women in their seniors housing complex, enhance personal and community safety, and develop strategies for helping a friend who is being abused.
During the duration of the project, the groups will develop plans to continue past the ten sessions.

A group leader will be chosen to organize the group on an ongoing basis and will receive support from BC CEAS after the completion of the project. A manual will be produced which will describe the project with a step by step guide to establishing other support groups of this nature.

Participants in this project will benefit from an increased knowledge and understanding of the nature and causes of elder abuse and violence and its overall impact. They will also gain a better understanding of the roles of the police, health units, victim service workers, VictimLINK, non-profit organizations and service providers in the prevention of violence against women and elder abuse.