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VetoViolence, June 9-13: National Center on Elder Abuse invites family input

The VetoViolence Facebook page invites families to:

Join CDC and National Center on Elder Abuse for an “Ask the Expert” forum on preventing elder abuse next week, June 9-13. Ask questions early, and they’ll reply next week.

The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) will join the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for an online discussion of elder abuse. Victims of elder abuse and their families are invited to share their stories and seek expert opinions. The week long discussion will take place on Facebook.

Stories of abuse in facilities or abuse by guardians are of special value to inform NCEA of the demographics of elder abuse. It is crucial that NCEA and CDC gain an understanding that most abuse is perpetrated by individuals outside the family. It is equally crucial that NCEA and CDC gain an understanding that law enforcement and government agencies routinely ignore horrific abuse by longterm care facilities and by guardians.

Topic: Elder Abuse Prevention

When: June 9-13, 2014

Where: VetoViolence’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/VetoViolence

Elder abuse is a serious problem that can have harmful effects on victims. In 2008, 1 in 10 elders reported emotional, physical, or sexual mistreatment or potential neglect in the previous year. But the good news is elder abuse can be prevented. Factors that protect elders from abuse and neglect include having several strong relationships; coordinating resources and services among organizations that serve the elderly population; and having a strong sense of community.

Nicole Soufi, Digital and Social Media Associate for Westat Health Communications, specifically invited families to tell their stories of abuse.

You can absolutely share your story during the forum and engage with others who may have insights or their own stories to tell. As well, experts from CDC and NCEA will be available to answer any questions and share resources.

Many elder advocates believe that abuse in longterm care facilities and abuse by guardians is grossly under-reported. Advocates are particularly frustrated by the apathy of law enforcement and government agencies when families report abuse of their loved ones by facilities or by guardians.

Advocates report that complaints of false imprisonment, forced isolation, physical restraint, chemical restraint, and sexual abuse fall on deaf ears in law enforcement. Government agencies routinely ignore complaints. In several California cases, law enforcement and county agencies retaliated against family and facilitated ongoing abuse.

In San Bernardino County, this Examiner was threatened with arrest when she reported false imprisonment and forced isolation in an assisted living facility. In Santa Clara County, Gisela Riordan’s son was arrested when he reported false imprisonment and forced isolation in an assisted living facility. In Monterey County, Margarita Zelada’s daughter was arrested two days after she approached the Board of Supervisors reporting false imprisonment and forced isolation in an assisted living facility. Margarita’s daughter remains in county jail more than two months later. Her efforts to advocate for her mother are effectively silenced.

Advocates see government agencies as equally resistant to protecting victims. In case after case, advocates see Adult Protective Services, longterm care ombudsmen, and Community Care Licensing ignore heinous abuse. It is not uncommon for agencies to retaliate against families reporting abuse of their loved ones. In so many cases, there is no remedy for elder abuse.

The NCEA VetoViolence event is a unique opportunity for families to share their individual stories. Advocates urge families to report the abuse suffered by their loved ones. Advocates especially urge families to report apathy by law enforcement and any retaliation against family reporting the abuse.