GewALT: preventing violence in the care of the elderly helps social inclusion

An EU-funded cross-border project aims at preventing abuse by and against elderly people by informing and sensitising the public and providing advice and training for care personnel and parents.

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Information material developed as part of the project which is used to raise awareness of the issue of violence against the elderly in care. Information material developed as part of the project which is used to raise awareness of the issue of violence against the elderly in care.

" From the onset of the project we have made site visits to nursing homes to further understand the issues involved in the area of violence to the elderly in care. Our assessment study of violence to the elderly in care showed that especially family members who take care of their parents are often overwhelmed and are for the most part unaware of other possibilities of support. Therefore it is important to bring the issues surrounding this topic into the public arena. "

Esther Jennings, Project Manager

The main goal of the project is to contribute to achieving a situation where the care of elderly people is not accompanied by violence or abuse. Brochures, flyers, trainings and other information material targeted at care personnel show up ways of dealing with abuse and address legal issues around violence against the elderly in Austria and Italy. At the same time, a general information campaign breaks the taboo of talking about domestic violence in public, and makes the population aware of the issue.

The project activities contribute to raising the quality of life of elderly people in need of care, their carers, and their parents. They also help overcome the generation gap and strengthen social inclusion of elderly people.

Help and advice for carers and nurses

As a first step, an assessment study determined the extent and the forms of abuse and violence among elderly people in Tyrol and Bolzano. The results of this study were used as a basis for the creation of a comprehensive training and education programme, including e-learning elements. A multidisciplinary group of experts in social research and education, care professionals, and experts in violence prevention developed the training content and material, which includes targeted flyers, posters, brochures, and academic articles on the project website. It also features concrete guidelines for appropriate behaviour when confronted with abuse by or against elderly people, as well as clarifications regarding the legal situation in Austria and Italy.

Abuse and violence among elderly people is a widespread problem, with around 10 000 elderly people suffering from abuse in Europe every day. However, projects against domestic abuse have so far mostly concentrated on violence against women or children. This project builds on a previous project funded by the Interreg IV Italy-Austria cross-border programme, “Diagnosis: Violence”, which raised awareness of domestic abuse among medical practitioners and care personnel.


Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “GewALT – Violence among elderly people (Gewalt im Alter/Violenza nella terza età)” is EUR 330 210 with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) contributing EUR 167 589 through the “Italy-Austria” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.


Draft date

03/11/2014