Family Services, the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office, Tulare County Adult Protective Services, and the Tulare County Sheriff‘s Office are working together to enhance collaboration and response to victims of abuse in later life in Tulare County. Abuse in later life includes elder abuse, neglect, exploitation, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking against victims who are 50 years of age and older.
The collaborative was one of only eight in the U.S. selected last year for the Enhanced Training and Services to End Abuse in Later Life Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women. The effort aims to increase recognition of abuse later in life among law enforcement, service providers, and the community at large, and to improve and coordinate services to victims of this type of abuse in Tulare County.
The four partners will establish a Collaborative Community Response team. Leaders from each partner agency will meet regularly to determine how to enhance, strengthen, and align services. The collaborative will provide training on abuse in later life to law enforcement agencies in Tulare County and will provide direct services training to population-specific organizations, victim service providers, victim advocates, local courts, health care providers, prosecutors, local government agencies, and other partners in Tulare County.
“The Abuse in Later Life Program has the potential to impact not only the victims of abuse in later life we already serve, but also victims of crime that go unrecognized and unreported,” said Caity Meader, Executive Director of Family Services of Tulare County.
Dynamics of Abuse in Later Life
- Although each year the number of reported incidents of abuse in later life grows, approximately 84% of elder abuse incidents are not reported.
- Forms of abuse include: elder abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
- Nationally, when gender is identified, 56% of victims of reported abuse in later life are female; 39% are male.
- As compared with younger victims of domestic abuse, victims of abuse in later life are less likely to report abuse due to factors such as fear of retaliation; fear and shame; reluctance to implicate a member of their family; cultural issues; isolation; loss of social network; language barriers; financial barriers, and concerns about being removed from their own home (to a nursing home).