The Choice Initiative
The Choice Initiative
An overview of the key elements of the project can be seen in the simplified chart below.
A summary of the four key objectives of the project can be found further down this page below the process chart.
The four objectives of the project are:
1 – Public Awareness Raising
The project involves raising awareness, primarily in Carmarthenshire and Cardiff, amongst the public and community-based services providing support for older people.
The awareness-raising campaign will provide information on healthy relationships but also highlight how to seek help if someone is being mistreated. Further information will be given on adult protection and safeguarding. The public awareness raising will help people in the community recognise the signs of mistreatment and how to respond to them more effectively. This aspect of the project will be inter-generational with older and younger people acting as ambassadors.
This highly innovative project has already featured in the local and national media and this coverage will continue as the project develops.
The launch conference was held on 22nd October 2015 in Carmarthen, where Sarah Rochira, the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales and Eleri Butler, the CEO of Welsh Women’s Aid were two key speakers. There will also be a series of local public engagement / awareness meetings held in the two pilot areas of Cardiff and Carmarthenshire, which will introduce the project on a more local basis.
Choice is active on Twitter. We hope to positively change attitudes towards people who have suffered mistreatment. Our Twitter page will also offer a forum for individuals and groups to make contact with one another to debate and challenge existing attitudes and practices when responding to older people experiencing harm in their own homes. The project aims to discover what older people want in terms of ‘justice’.
Our Twitter user name is @choiceolderppl so please follow us.
2 – Design new approaches to justice
In phase two of the project we will design new approaches to justice based on restorative principles – one in Cardiff and one for Carmarthenshire. This new option will exist alongside criminal and civil justice options.
These approaches will be designed by members of the public together with local practitioners from both the third sector and local Social Services. Different restorative approaches may be developed for our pilot areas. These will be tailored to the needs and priorities of the local area that are identified by the design groups in each area.
3 – Deliver and evaluate the impact of the Choice initiative
An innovative element of the project is that fully-trained personnel will also be involved. A Choice Practitioner and two Choice Support Workers will be employed to discuss with older people who have been harmed by family members, the range of options available to them.
Any agency can refer an older person onto the project, but the older person will have to go through the existing Social Services risk assessment process carried out by the Adult Safeguarding Teams in Carmarthenshire and Cardiff. 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.
They will 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 18 months.
The project will evaluate the effectiveness of all aspects of the Choice initiative 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.