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Councilmembers advocate prevention of elder abuse

Summary

Elder Abuse Awareness Day proclaimed on June 15

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In recognition of King County’s growing senior population and concerns about the safety of vulnerable adults, members of the Metropolitan King County Council today proclaimed June 15, 2012, as Elder Abuse Awareness Day in King County.

The proclamation encourages everyone to commit to building safer lives and safer community for elderly residents. It also highlights the public and private agencies that work together to combat elder abuse, including the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and the King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The most common perpetrators of elder abuse are the victim's spouse, family member or guardian, making it a form of domestic violence, according to The National Center on Elder Abuse.

“Looking out for our venerable and vulnerable seniors is critically important,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips. “Elder Abuse Awareness Day is a reminder that our seniors have spent a lifetime contributing to our community, and now we owe it to them to protect them from harm in their golden years.”

“Too many elder abuse cases go undetected and unreported,” said Councilmember Julia Patterson. “Raising awareness is essential to eliminating abuse, and that’s what this proclamation does. People of all ages can play a part in this matter by reporting abuse and suspicion of abuse to local authorities.”

“As difficult as it is to believe, many cases of elder abuse involve their own family members,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who chairs the Council’s Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee. “Some older women who are victimized by partners or children are afraid to report it because of concerns about financial security. They need to know that help is available from our Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and victim advocates.”

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office handles about 350 cases a year involving elder neglect, abuse or financial exploitation, and recognizes the need for focusing on those who take advantage of the vulnerable elderly population in King County. A specially trained unit is tasked with investigating and prosecuting elder abuse cases.

“Unfortunately, elder abuse is increasing, so everyone has a responsibility for protecting our senior citizens,” said Council Chair Larry Gossett. “If you are aware of elders being abused, silence is not an option. It is incumbent upon us to look for the signs of elder abuse and to tell the authorities if abuse is suspected.”

“I applaud the effort to increase awareness of elder abuse and educate our community about the services available to those who are victims of mistreatment or exploitation,” said Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer. “This proclamation is the first step toward educating the public about protecting the elderly community in our region. I invite the residents of South King County to attend the showing of the film “Last Will and Embezzlement” at the Federal Way Library on June 23 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. to learn more about ways to prevent the victimization of our senior citizens.”

“Elderly in our communities have a right to dignity and respect,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson. “It is important to raise awareness about the issue of elder abuse to help prevent vulnerable individuals from being taken advantage of or suffering abuse.”

“Helping raise awareness of the important issue of elder abuse is something I am proud to be a part of,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn. “We must continue to do all we can to protect the most vulnerable among us.”

Communities around the globe celebrate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day every June 15. Elder abuse consists of any act that harms a senior or jeopardizes his or her health or welfare, including neglect or financial, emotional or physical abuse, and is inflicted upon vulnerable seniors across all socio-economic boundaries.

Councilmembers called for everyone in the community to help prevent elder abuse by recognizing and reporting any signs, such as physical trauma, withdrawal, depression, anxiety, and fear of family members, friends or caregivers. For more information, go to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s web site  or call (206) 296-9010.

PROCLAMATION

WHEREAS, King County’s senior citizens deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, to enable them to continue to serve as leaders, mentors, and volunteers who contribute to the vitality of the community; and

WHEREAS, with increasing life expectancy, nearly 11 percent of King County’s population is now age 65 and older; and

WHEREAS, elder abuse consists of intentional actions or neglect that cause harm, serious risk of harm, or financial loss to a vulnerable elder, by a legal guardian, a person in a trusted relationship, or a caregiver; and

WHEREAS, the National Center on Elder Abuse has determined that the most common perpetrator of elder abuse is the victim’s spouse or partner, and this abuse is defined as domestic violence; and

WHEREAS, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office handles approximately 350 felony cases a year involving elder neglect, abuse, and financial exploitation and has responded by creating a unit trained to prosecute elder abuse cases; and

WHEREAS, the King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence provides local resources to help seniors overcome barriers and escape elder abuse; and

WHEREAS, everyone can help in the campaign to eliminate elder abuse by watching for and reporting signs such as physical trauma, withdrawal, depression, anxiety, and fear of family members, friends, or caregivers; and

WHEREAS, communities around the globe recognize World Elder Abuse Awareness Day every June 15th;

NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, hereby proclaim June 15, 2012, as

                                                           ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY

in King County and encourage everyone to commit to building safer lives and a safe community for our elderly residents.

DATED this eleventh day of June, 2012.



Contact the Council
Main phone:
206-477-1000
TTY/TDD:
206-296-1024
Fax:
206-296-0198