Approximately 10% of older adults have experienced some form of elder abuse in the past year and only one of 14 cases ever come to the attention of authorities.
LifeSpan’s Elder Victim Advocates work closely with local law enforcement, Sexual Abuse Response Team, Crisis Intervention Training Steering Committee, Adult Protective Services, other area victim advocates, and many more community partners to identify victims of crime (like Betty) and connect them with the supports they need to recover from a crime.
Betty, 71, called police after suspecting that her professional caregiver was stealing money from her purse. After the police arrested the aide for theft, Betty started receiving harassing phone calls threatening her if she would not drop the charges. The police intervened and referred Betty to LifeSpan’s Elder Victim Advocate program. Working together with her dedicated advocate, Betty developed a realistic safety plan so she could remain in her home and feel secure. The advocate also assisted Betty in getting a protective order and arranged transportation so Betty could attend all her court hearings.
“Our advocates help support, defend and promote adult victims’ rights and wellbeing,” said Meredith Davis, program supervisor. “A community-based victim advocate fills gaps in current systems to ensure elder adult victims of crime have the support they need.”
An advocate can assist victims outside of court including crisis intervention, collaboration with law enforcement, conducting home visits, safety planning, and accompaniment to different appointments. Advocacy services are confidential and provided at no cost. Assistance is available even if a crime has not been reported.
“Working with some of the most vulnerable elders in the community, Adult Protective Services (APS) was eager to help clients connect with the new Elder Victim Advocate Program. We look forward to continuing this cooperative partnership, and are proud to have a specialized program for seniors that are victims of crime in the Butler County community,” said Kevin Kurpieski, Butler County APS Supervisor.
In order to further expand its capacity to assist as many victims as possible, LifeSpan is recruiting and training volunteers to serve as Victim Advocates. After training with our knowledgeable staff, volunteers will provide information regarding victim rights, referrals to other services, emotional support, assist with financial restitution, and much more. “Volunteer Advocates are critical to the success of the program as they provide support and relief to crime victims,” said Cathy Boston, volunteer coordinator for LifeSpan.
To learn more about LifeSpan’s Elder Victim Advocates or to volunteer; visit lifespanohio.org/victim-advocate or call (513) 785-2946.
Article provided by LifeSpan Inc. Marketing Department