In 2021, the cases handled by the association increased by 18%. This year, in connection with the controversy over retirement homes, reports in establishments have jumped by 40%.
How have reports of abuse evolved in 2021 and how does 2022 begin?
Anne-Marie Bonnery, president of Alma 11, and Danielle Rangoni, secretary: “In 2021, we had an increase in files of 18%, i.e. 45 files processed compared to 38 in 2020. The highlight is that 8% more of victims phoned the association themselves. Until then they were only 1%. They are less vulnerable and better informed. The confinement was a difficult period, but the victims may have felt more supported : our number was widely distributed to the senior spaces of the Department, which identified isolated and vulnerable people. They felt authorized to ask for help. In 2022, it does not stop. In the 1st quarter, we have 40% more calls for cases of institutional abuse. This phenomenon is directly linked to the news in retirement homes”.
What are the most common cases of abuse, at home and in institutions?
“Mistreatment takes many forms. But it always intervenes on a psychological and very often financial, sometimes physical level, and on the basis of family conflicts which deteriorate. Financial mistreatment is depriving a person of his resources or his accommodation in confining it to a small space. It can also be abusive requests for legal protection, substitution of papers, bank cards. Today, because of the media coverage of cases in nursing homes, we are also increasing the load on situations of institutional mistreatment in institutions”.
Are the means deployed following your reports sufficient?
“We are here to listen and guide. We report cases of abuse at home to the Department (which conducts investigations), and to the Regional Health Agency when they take place in an establishment. We close the file when we reach a appeasement or when the caller feels able to defend his interests. Even if we do not go into the field, we follow the files. But concerning the legal means, we are sorry when we see a disabled person still mistreated by his guardian despite our reports… It is only when we consider the person in real danger that we can warn the prosecutor or the gendarmes. It is frustrating and complicated. This means that there is still a long way to go. Moreover, we want to work more with the Regional Health Agency and be integrated into their complaints committee”.
On the occasion of the annual meeting of Alma 11, Séverine Mateille, vice-president of the Departmental Council in charge of autonomy, took the floor. “More than 350 reports per year are made to the Pôle personnes aged with disabilities in Aude. However, we are powerless on the legal side because there are few levers to protect adults. We are awaiting a reaction from the national authorities and our wish is that we finally put the means for our seniors and citizens in vulnerable situations. It is surprising to still have reports of people almost abandoned in 2022! As 15 years ago for the protection of childhood, tongues are loosening and reports of abuse are increasing. Their number will become exponential. That’s good, but we are behind schedule. If the Department carries out checks, the justice system must put effective and efficient”.
What solutions to overcome abuse, especially in institutions?
“If we insist on training, we can raise awareness. However, there is a fear of professionals to report cases of abuse. They are afraid of reprisals from their hierarchy. They know that sometimes certain types of abuse are inevitable , because the staff is reduced or not trained, the working conditions are difficult, the schedules change… Some lock themselves up and with the routine, end up trivializing.They also lack speaking time and analyzes of practices. These must be developed in all structures, but it is not mandatory. Our association carries out training and prevention actions with nursing home staff when we are asked… but we are asked very little” .
How do you act upstream to prevent cases of abuse?
“We are involved in training institutes for nurses and caregivers. In 2022/2023, we are going to focus on this aspect by extending this training to all carers, home helpers and establishments that We will also go to see students of legal careers to raise their awareness. In addition, the Penal Code says that citizens have an obligation to report cases of abuse, under pain of a fine of €45,000. understand that to report is not to denounce, it is to protect”.
A simple phone call to report cases of abuse
The Allô mistreatment 11 association was created in 2012. It is attached to the 3977 Federation: a national associative system supported by the Ministry of Health, which associates a national telephone platform (free number 3977 available daily). This system receives alerts from victims, their relatives or professionals. He listens, supports, advises and accompanies callers to organizations likely to put an end to these situations. Callers can remain anonymous.
In addition to 3977, you can dial Alma 11, Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: 04 68 41 44 04. Or write to Alma 11, BP10105, 11101 Narbonne cedex.
(SOURCE: THE INDEPENDENT)