FSU Home  
Institute for Family Violence Studies

Institute for Family Violence Studies
Karen Oehme, J. D.
Program Director

College of Social Work
C2309 University Center
Tallahassee, FL 32306-2570

Contact Info.
phone number(850)644-6303
fax number(850)644-8331
Map of Campus


 Rural Victimization Project

Florida State University School of Social Work

Institute for Family Violence Studies

Competency Based Training Manual for

Meals on Wheels Volunteers & Other Elder Staff Services


The Meals on Wheels (MOW) program utilizes volunteers to deliver meals to home-bound elders over the age of 60 and is committed to identifying their clients in need of assistance. In many rural areas, the MOW volunteer is the elder's only connection to the outside world. Meal programs are often offered in conjunction with other elder service programs allowing for contact with other staff and social work professionals as well as MOW volunteers. Because these staff and volunteers typically have a positive relationship with their clients, elders may be more willing to confide in them about abuse issues. For this reason, the Rural Victimization Project has sought to train elder services staff and volunteers to identify and assist victims of elder domestic abuse who might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Domestic Abuse in Later Life: A Competency-Based Training Manual for Meals on Wheels Volunteers and Other Elder Services Staff was developed specifically for human services professionals in the aging field. In addition to chapters on the dynamics of domestic violence, overcoming rural barriers, and utilizing community resources, it contains information specific to the additional barriers to leaving an abusive relationship faced by elders as well as the impact of abuse on nutritional outcomes. The heart of the manual teaches professionals to spot the signs of abuse, how to ask a potential victim about abuse, and how to refer victims to the proper agencies for services.

The Rural Victimization MOW Training Pilot Project was initiated in 1999 and, to-date, hundreds of volunteers and elder services staff have received in-service training. The Institute has also trained elder services volunteers and professionals in California, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Georgia as well. Also, national organizations, such as the Meals on Wheels Association of America have supported this training initiative and have allowed for its provision at national conferences.

In order to meet the demand for training, a video was developed for those unable to attend an Institute training event. Escaping the Shadows: Identifying and Assisting Victims of Elder Domestic Abuse is a 20 minute training video that describes how to spot a victim abuse, how to talk to a potential victim about abuse, and how to refer them to the proper agencies for services.

In addition, a new Train the Trainer booklet was developed to allow those who attend an Institute training to return to their hometowns and provide the training to others.

· Florida's Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) and Other Nutrition ProgramStaff
 Meals on Wheels Volunteers & Other Elder Services Staff
·  Florida's Animal Abuse Investigators