The Choice Initiative
The Choice Initiative
There are four key elements of the project:
1 – Public Awareness Raising
The awareness-raising campaign provides information on positive ageing, healthy relationships and we hold focus groups that discuss different aspects of ageing.
Below are the Carmarthen (left) and Llanelli (right) focus groups held recently.
The project is raising awareness, particularly in the two pilot areas of Carmarthenshire and Cardiff, amongst the public and community-based services providing support for older people.
We are also highlighting how to seek help if someone is being mistreated with further information given on adult protection and safeguarding.
The public awareness raising helps people in the community recognise the signs of mistreatment and how to respond to them more effectively.
This aspect of the project is inter-generational with older and younger people acting as ambassadors.
In the photos (left) are Alan and Jeremy at a school visit and (right), Sarah and Rebecca with two students from a local school who spent time with us on a work placement.
Dewis Choice is a highly innovative project which has featured in the local and national media and this coverage will continue throughout the life of the project.
The project has organised and attended a number of events at which we have presented the aims and objectives of the project.
Some of these have been:
Photo left - Elize and Jeremy at the 50+ Forum Carmarthenshire AGM in 2016.
Photo right - some of the members of the Llansteffan WI
Photo left - John, Alan & Sarah at the Carmarthen launch with partner agencies
Photo right - John, Alan & Sarah at the Cardiff launch with partner agencies
We have also been invited to speak and present at a number of conferences and seminars:
- Against Violence & Abuse (AVA), London
- Community Care Live, Manchester
- Research in Practice for Adults, Birmingham
- Dyfed Powys Police & Crime Commissioner Coercive Control seminar, Carmarthen
- Domestic Homicide Review – Standing Together against Domestic Violence (STADV), London
- AEA Cymru Annual Conference 2018
- Voices4Victims conference, Stoke on Trent
John and Sarah were also part of the working group created by the Older People's Commissioner for Wales & the Welsh Govt, who produced the recent ‘Information and guidance on domestic abuse: Safeguarding older people in Wales' report.
Choice is active on Twitter. We hope we are positively changing attitudes towards people who have suffered mistreatment.
Our Twitter user name is @choiceolderppl so please follow us.
An overview of the key elements of the project can be seen in the simplified chart below.
2 – Design new approaches to justice
To achieve this objective we designed a new approach based on restorative principles.
We have developed our Wellbeing Service, with this new option existing alongside criminal, civil justice and welfare options.
The approach was designed by members of the public together with local practitioners from both the third sector and local Social Services.
The new approach was tailored to the needs and priorities of the local area that were identified by each of the design groups.
The Wellbeing Service provides a flexible, restorative approach, that has been developed from the two design groups, and takes into account the differing circumstances that exist in every family and case.
Below are some of the members of the Cardiff (left) and Carmarthenshire (right) design groups
3 – Deliver and evaluate the impact of the Choice service
An innovative element of the project is that fully-trained personnel will also be involved.
A Choice Support Worker (Lynn Rees, pictured left), is employed to discuss with older people who have been harmed by family members, whilst living in their own homes, the range of options available to them.
This may include referral to the wellbeing service, provided by the Choice Practitioner (Elize Freeman, pictured right).
Where requested by the older person, the wellbeing service may also be accessed by family members.
Any agency can refer an older person onto the project, but the older person has to go through the existing Social Services risk assessment process.
The project is only able to accept referrals for people who have been designated as ‘lower risk’. The risk level will continue to be monitored by the Choice Support Worker before, during and after the intervention.
The Support Worker and Choice Practitioner adopt a person-centred approach to meet the needs of the older person.
They will engage with other services to help provide a complete package of support for the older person.
The Choice project focusses on justice and human rights, any welfare needs will be referred to the third sector.
Participants in the project will be supported for up to a period of 12 months.
The project will evaluate the effectiveness of all aspects of the Choice service in a number of ways:
- The research team will discuss with participants their levels of satisfaction with the service, their sense of empowerment and degree of involvement in the decision-making process.
- The two Choice Support Workers and the Choice Practitioner will comment on any perceived changes in victims’ engagement needs and empowerment.
- Numerous measures will be administered to assess issues relating to safety, empowerment and control.
- Participants may be asked to keep a reflective diary, using any medium they wish, throughout the process as well as meeting with the research team.
- The 'success' of the reparation process will be monitored after a period of six months.
4 – Share the learning and dissemination of research findings
The findings from the project will be disseminated at selected conferences aimed at practitioners, academics and the general public.
We see sharing the learning about the Choice initiative as a crucial part of the project.
A multi-media training package will be produced for practitioners.
The findings of the research will inform the development of guidance on appropriate responses to abuse, harm and mistreatment.
This package will provide information on promoting healthy relationships in later life.