Action on Elder Abuse
Hard-hitting campaigning for the voiceless
A charity that campaigns on behalf of older people who are victims of abuse wanted the British public to hear its voice and tackle inertia among policymakers on this often-ignored crime.
After just six months of working with Journalista, Action on Elder Abuse (AEA) has seen its key messages reported time and again where it matters: on BBC Panorama, in the Daily Mail, and across a range of national broadsheets.
AEA chief executive, Gary FitzGerald, credits Journalista with helping the charity to talk to millions of people that it had struggled to reach in recent years. And this heightened awareness has helped AEA to forge closer links with the Home Office as it continues to press one of its main aims: for elder abuse to be made a specific crime.
Through PR led stakeholder engagement campaigns, AEA has also worked closely with the Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, and linked up with police and crime commissioners around England and Wales to warn of the dangers of financial abuse of older people.
Over these six months, AEA received 320 pieces of media coverage, 99 per cent of which were positive, with 76 per cent generated by Journalista, and with a total reach of more than 43 million people.
But crucially, Journalista also tailored local and regional coverage to reach the over-50s, a target audience for potential AEA donors.
During this period, an audience of 4.5m people was achieved for England-specific stories, many placed in regional and local newspapers, a key source of news for older people.
Dedicated stories carried in the devolved countries saw a reach of more than 3m people in Northern Ireland, 2.25m in Scotland, and almost 0.5m in Wales.
When AEA joined forces with Journalista, the charity wanted to highlight the scale and variety of elder abuse in the UK and promote methods of protection and prevention to policy-makers.
Journalista worked with the charity to craft three key messages to guide PR activity at the start. The clear majority of coverage achieved has contained at least one of those messages, most commonly their number one line: that abuse of older people in the UK is a nationwide problem.
This has been achieved through focused and hard-hitting news stories that highlighted the shockingly low conviction rate for abuse of older people; revealed that care homes were banning relatives who complained about the quality of care their family members received; and identified that one-in-five older people in Northern Ireland had been affected by financial abuse.
After a successful first contract period, AEA has committed to work with Journalista for the upcoming 2017-18 period. Journalista is now set to intensify the charity’s PR campaign to make elder abuse an aggravated offence on a par with other hate crimes. Alongside developing further still its relationship with all four UK governments and strengthen its voice to the British public.
AEA’s chief executive, Gary FitzGerald, said: “The team at Journalista have taken the time to understand the issues we want to raise and the climate in which we are working, and they have offered advice and assistance in a way that has been highly effective but also highly supportive.
“They are creative and proactive and have helped us reach millions of people with our messages in a way that we had struggled to do so previously.”
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