Elder Safe Program
Older adults deserve a safe and secure retirement. Unfortunately, some elders fall victim to abuse, fraud or other crimes. Elder Safe helps victims aged 65 and older after a crime is reported to police and continues to help them through the criminal justice system.
Based at the Sheriff's Office, Elder Safe collaborates with the District Attorney's Office and the Disability, Aging & Veteran Services and city police departments to coordinate services.
Volunteer victim advocates provide crime victims with emotional support and information relating to the criminal justice system and their case. Assistance tailored to the unique circumstance of each victim may include personal support, court advocacy, or help filling out forms. Program staff and volunteers understand the needs of victims for information, validation, restitution, testimony, and support as their cases travel through the criminal justice system.
What is Elder Abuse?
Physical abuse - the use of force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain or impairment. This includes inappropriate restraint.
Sexual abuse - non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with an elderly person.
Emotional or psychological abuse - the infliction of anguish, pain or distress.
Financial abuse - the illegal or improper use of an elder's funds, property or assets. This can include forgery, fraud, unexplained transfers of an elders' assets and the unexplained disappearance of funds or valuable possessions.
Neglect - the refusal or failure of a caregiver to fulfill his or her caregiving responsibilities.
Elder crime victims are among the most underserved of any victim group in the United States, according to Susan Herman, executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime. Serving this group presents an enormous challenge for the criminal justice system and senior service agencies as the proportion of older adults continues to increase faster than any other age group.
How to report elder abuse
To confidentially report suspected elder abuse or neglect, call (503) 640-3489 at the Washington County Disability, Aging & Veteran Services. If you suspect a crime, call your local police department. If you just need more information, call Elder Safe at (503) 846-6048.
Multidisciplinary approach to preventing elder abuse
Elder Safe also is a member of the Washington County Elder Abuse Multidisciplinary Team, which is comprised of the District Attorney's Office, Adult Protective Services, every law enforcement agency in the county, mental health, and other community partners. The Washington County Multidisciplinary Team reviews difficult elder abuse cases, develops investigative guidelines, identifies needed training, and helps coordinate procedures among agencies and other activities.
The criminal justice system has historically been offender focused and driven. Elder Safe assures that the needs of victims and their families are met.
Speakers on Elder Abuse
Elder Safe speakers can discuss elder abuse, or elder abuse prevention, with your community group. To arrange for a speaker call (503) 846-6048.
Elder Safe funding
The program is in part financed through the Victims of Crime Act, a federal fund generated by fines, penalty assessments, forfeited bonds and literary profits collected by the federal government from convicted federal criminals.
Elder Safe relies on volunteers to help with victims' assistance. Requirements include an interest in older adults and the criminal justice system. Volunteers are asked to commit to a minimum of four hours a month for 1 year. Free training is provided. Current volunteers include accountants, bank officials, retirees, Sheriff Reserve Deputies and others. For more information call Marcia at (503) 846-6048.
Other Sources of Information:
It is common for a person with Alzheimer's or a related dementia to wander and become lost. This can be dangerous, life threatening and the stress can weigh heavily on family and caregivers. Washington County Sheriff's Office is pleased to participate in Project Lifesaver and a new program called Help Me Home.