FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 12, 2013
Executive Director, CARIE
CARIE and SeniorLAW Center Awarded Grant to Protect Victims in Long Term Care from Crime and Abuse
The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency has awarded CARIE and SeniorLAW Center a one-year grant to reduce, prevent, and respond to crime and victimization in long term care facilities in Pennsylvania. This collaborative effort will increase awareness of victim services and supports for long term care residents and staff, educate law enforcement about the long term care system, improve protections and provide support for senior victims.
Long term care residents are especially vulnerable to crime and elder abuse, yet are not provided the same protections as elders living in the community. Because they may exhibit physical impairments, mental health issues, cognitive impairments, and/or inadequate social supports, “crimes against nursing home residents are less likely to be reported, investigated, and prosecuted than crimes against individuals living in the community” (Disability Rights California, April 2010). This creates a system in which crime and abuse against a vulnerable population are unreported and uninvestigated while the victims are left without support and/or justice.
There are many problems to overcome and needs to address: the lack of a clear understanding of elder abuse, a fragmented system of reporting and responding to elder abuse, the lack of awareness of victim rights and services, an unwillingness from older adults to report crimes perpetrated by caregivers or family members, and the challenges inherent in investigating and prosecuting cases involving individuals with mental illness or cognitive impairments. CARIE and SeniorLAW Center plan to develop educational presentations for long term care residents and staff about the supports and programs available to victims of crime. They will also develop trainings for law enforcement to better understand and address the complex needs and issues facing residents of long term care facilities.
CARIE and SeniorLAW Center are excited to join together with the Elder Justice Program of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office,the Philadelphia Financial Exploitation Prevention Task Force and other partners to raise awareness and to educate in order to fight against abuse and crime against elders in long term care.
ABOUT CARIE and SeniorLAW Center:
CARIE, established in 1977, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for vulnerable older adults through advocacy, education and action. CARIE pursues this through its many programs, including the CARIE LINE, a free resource for a wide range of people seeking to resolve elder care issues, the PA SMP program, the Philadelphia Long Term Care Ombudsman program, education and training programs, policy advocacy and community outreach. You can reach CARIE toll free 1-800-356-3606 or visit www.CARIE.org. Help is free and confidential.
SeniorLAW Centeris a nonprofit organization which improves the lives of older Pennsylvanians and protects their rights through legal representation, education and advocacy. Founded in 1978, SeniorLAW Center provides free legal services, community legal education, professional training, advice, information and referral services, and advocacy to over 8,000 seniors each year, addressing critical legal issues, including elder abuse, housing, consumer protection, family law, and health and financial decision making. You can reach SeniorLAW Center toll free at 877-727-7529 or visit www.seniorlawcenter.org.
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