- details behind the hidden nature of elder abuse,
- how court and justice agencies can develop resources and tools to identify and improve their responses to elder abuse.
Justice Clearinghouse Editors (JCH): Your webinar is specifically about the hidden nature of elder abuse cases. Why are elder abuse cases so “hidden?”
Brenda Uekert: There are many reasons why these cases are “hidden.” Older victims often feel a sense of shame and are reluctant to report incidents—especially when their own family members are responsible for the abuse, neglect, or exploitation. When these cases are reported to law enforcement, the response may be less than ideal. For example, the older victim’s credibility may be questioned if he or she has some memory issues, or responding officers might erroneously dismiss the case as a civil matter upon learning there is a power of attorney or guardianship in place. Even medical practitioners may fail to distinguish intentional from accidental bruising and attribute more subtle signs of abuse or neglect as the side effects of aging.
JCH: What are the biggest myths or misconceptions you think the justice community has about Elder Abuse or the investigation/prosecution of elder abuse cases?
JCH: The work that you do is important, but must be challenging at times. What drew you to this specific area of justice and protecting the elderly? What keeps you motivated or inspired to keep going – even in light of some of the horrible things you must encounter as part of your job?
JCH: In your role, you’ve had an opportunity to see what many states/jurisdictions are doing to protect our elderly citizens. Can you point to any success stories – prosecutors and law enforcement being able to work together for the better protection of our elderly community?
JCH: While many of our readers and subscribers are in law enforcement, we have representation from all parts of the justice arena (prosecutors, court personnel, probation, social services, etc). Can you share some specifics of what different types of justice professionals or first responders will gain by attending your webinar? What skills or new knowledge will they gain that they can immediately use the next day on the job?
- Types of cases that might involve underlying issues of abuse
- How to recognize intentional versus accidental bruising
- Common types of legal documents and why they do not give license to commit crimes
- The roles of consent, capacity, and undue influence
- How to develop a coordinated community response
- Adapting a judicial benchcard for your court
or here watch The Hidden Nature of Elder Abuse.