Reading the article “Through the Cracks” clearly defines what elder abuse is and how it’s not only a crime, going under reported, perpetrators going unpunished, predictable and escalating, but it continues to keep me up at night, as an educator on abuse in later life.
Predictable, meaning this man will probably go on to fatally harm his mother, under all our noses. To give him the out that he’s under the influence is a slap in the face for all the victims that do come forward, which aren’t that many.
What needs to happen is the formation of a coordinated community response that includes long-term shelters and education for the police, doctors and social workers about the red flags of abuse.
Police officers should think of these cases not simply as family matters, but as criminal offenses. And also work to connect victims to resources outside the criminal justice system, such as domestic-violence advocates and counseling services, so that a sustainable solution to an abusive relationship can be found.
Camie Engel Elder Navigator and Outreach Specialist
Senior Services of Albany