Over a number of years, the CLSC René-Cassin (now part of the CIUSSS du Centre-Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal) has developed an expertise in psychosocial intervention in cases of elder mistreatment. This expertise is based on the clinical experience of the team behind the Leading Practices to Prevent Elder Abuse program, as well as research conducted by various teams at the Centre for Research and Expertise in Social Gerontology (CREGÉS).
In addition to offering a training program and professional consultation service to psychosocial practitioners across the province, the Leading Practices to Prevent Elder Abuse team created the Info-Abus helpline in 1995. This service, targeting the general public (older adults, loved ones, etc.), was kept going for many years by dedicated volunteers who, under the supervision of a practitioner, took people’s calls, provided them with information and directed them to the appropriate resources.
Following a public consultation in 2007 on the living conditions of older adults, the Quebec government looked closely into the problem of elder mistreatment. In June 2010, the Ministère de la Famille et des Aînés tabled the first-ever Quebec action plan to counter this problem: the Governmental Action Plan to Counter Elder Abuse 2010–2015. As part of this plan, four (4) foundational actions were identified:
1. conduct a public awareness campaign
2. create a university research chair on elder mistreatment
3. set up a helpline with a referral service
4. appoint regional coordinators specialized in elder mistreatment
Given its recognized expertise in elder mistreatment interventions and its experience with the Info-Abus helpline, CSSS Cavendish (now part of the CIUSSS du Centre-Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal) was put in charge of the third action.
On October 1, 2010, the Ligne Aide Abus Aînés (LAAA) replaced the former Info-Abus helpline. Staffed by professionals (social workers or the equivalent), the LAAA was able to develop a more comprehensive range of services, including a helpline for the general public and services for practitioners across the province.