Elder abuse is not rare, but only one in 24 senior victims tell someone about what happened.
As a result, New York is proposing a pilot program that would establish elder courts to help seniors feel more comfortable coming forward.
A New York state elder abuse prevalence study says an estimated 260,000 seniors throughout the state are victims of elder abuse each year. Many don’t report their cases due to fear or shame.
New York is now trying to make them feel more comfortable. Lauren Goetz, owner of Everyday Hands, thinks elder courts are a good idea.
“I think it’s something that could definitely be helpful,” says Goetz. ‘The elder population is growing and there isn’t enough resources for them.”
Art Mason is the director of Lifespan’s Upstate Elder Abuse Center. He believes it’s only the first of many necessary steps.
“I think it’s definitely something worth considering given that New York State has the fourth largest amount of older adults in the country,” says Mason.
He has suggestions on how the state could implement such a program.
“What to expect, advocate so they can navigate the whole system and then have the judges and the prosecutors be very well aware of maybe what limitations and what’s going on with victims when they show up in their courtrooms,” says Mason.
The pilot program would take place in six counties throughout the state with a chief administrator reporting back to Albany with their findings.
If you’re a senior or know a senior dealing with elder abuse issues, you’re recommended to call the adult services helpline at 844-697-3505.