Campaign to Save $800,000 for Elder Abuse Services: Elder Abuse Hurts in Brooklyn

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1 Campaign to Save $800,000 for Elder Abuse Services: Elder Abuse Hurts in Brooklyn Brooklyn Council of Senior Centers and Services of New York City, Inc., April Document Coordinators: Kerry Sullivan & Ana Betsabe Soto Anecdotes from all New York City boroughs can be found at For more information, please contact Bobbie Sackman, Director of Public Policy, x226,

2 Findings from Under the Radar, a New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study, out of every 1,000 older New Yorkers are victims of elder abuse in a one year period. 9% of all NYC residents, age 60+, are elder abuse victims. This is about 120,000 people. Applying an incidence rate estimated by a study to the general population of older New Yorkers, an estimated 260,000 older adults in the state have been victims of at least one form of elder abuse in the past year. The findings of the study also point to a dramatic gap between the rate of elder abuse events reported by older New Yorkers and the number of cases referred to and served in the formal elder abuse service system. Overall the study found an elder abuse incidence rate in New York State that was nearly 24 times greater than the number of cases referred to social services and law enforcement or legal authorities who have the capacity as well as the responsibility to assist older adult victims. Under the Radar had two parts of methodology: a Self-Reported Study and a Documented Case Study. In the Self-Reported Study, the most common form of elder abuse reported is financial abuse. In the Documented Case Study, psychological and physical abuse are the most common forms of abuse reported. Study administered by the NYS Office of Children and Family Services, and conducted by Lifespan of Greater Rochester, The New York City Department for the Aging, and the Weill Cornell Medical College. The Council of Senior Centers and Services (CSCS) promotes the quality of life, independent living, productivity, and dignity of mature older adults in New York City. CSCS champions elder rights. For more information visit the CSCS web site at cscs-ny.org

3 BROOKLYN Council Member Anecdotes for Elder Abuse Agency: JASA Districts Covered: 33-48, 50 Total number of clients: no mandated number cases cases monthly basis- FY10 the number of clients served increased by 25% FY11 - approx. 560 clients Number contracted for: not calculated Michael Nelson Mrs. F is an 84 year old woman of Jewish descent. She lives in Community District 15-Council District 48, in a home she owns with her husband of 47 years. They have been in the home for 30 years. Their 41 year old adopted son, Mr. H, is living under the back porch in a room used to store gardening supplies. He is addicted to crack cocaine. Mr. H has been verbally and financially abusive. He has recently become physically abusive. After two incidents in the home, when Mr. H harassed, menaced and threatened Mrs. F for drug money, she called the District Attorney s office for assistance with Mr. H. Mrs. F wanted a Family Court Order of Protection but was physically unable to go to court. The case was subsequently referred to the JASA-LEAP program by the DA s office. The social worker met with the client at the client s home. An intake and assessment was completed and it was determined the client needed a Family Court Order of Protection. The social worker drafted the Family Court Petition and filed the paperwork in Family Court on behalf of the client. The social worker arranged a telephone conference between the Family Court Judge and Mrs. H. The service of the summons for Mr. H s appearance was also arranged by the social worker. Counseling, advocacy and support were provided by the social worker during the entire process. A two year Full Order of Protection was issued for Mrs. F which excluded Mr. H from the home

4 (continued) James S. Oddo Mrs. M is a 91 year old woman of European descent. She lives in Community District 8-Council District 50, with her only child, a 57 year old daughter. Mrs. M is a widow. The 57 year old daughter has a twenty year history of addiction to crack cocaine and is currently addicted to a prescription drug, Xanax, as well. With regard to the Xanax, client s daughter first illegally bought the pills from a drug dealer. She eventually found a doctor who she convinced to write prescriptions to her for the Xanax. Client s daughter overuses the Xanax prescribed to her. Once she runs out of them, she proceeds to harass her mother so she can buy them illegally from her drug dealer. The daughter is also alleged to have some mental health issues. The daughter physically assaults Mrs. M for money to buy both the crack cocaine and Xanax from her drug dealer. She is also verbally abusive to her mother. The referral was made to the Department for the Aging by the Domestic Violence Police Officer in Mrs. M s precinct and the case was referred to JASA-LEAP. During the social workers initial visit the daughter stated she is bi-polar and addicted to both crack cocaine and Xanax pills. The social worker offered to assist the daughter with admission to a drug treatment program. The daughter declined the assistance. Mrs. M advised she did not want to see her daughter in the street and therefore she would not report incidents which occurred in the home. Mrs. M wanted her daughter to go to drug detoxification and rehabilitation. Mrs. M admitted her daughter regularly pulls her by the hair and threatens her for money. The LEAP social worker educated Mrs. M on Family Court orders of protection but she was reluctant to move forward with the order. The social worker maintained supportive contact and made unannounced home visits and provided supportive counseling. During one unannounced visit Mrs. M advised the social worker she wanted to proceed with the order of protection after an incident which had just occurred with her daughter. The social worker drafted the Family Court Petition and then filed the paperwork in Family Court on behalf of the client. The social worker arranged car service for Mrs. M to the Family Court. The social worker appeared for Mrs. M, before the Judge, until an attorney was appointed. The service of the summons for her daughter s appearance was also arranged by the social worker. Counseling, advocacy and support were provided by the social worker during the entire process. A one year Full Order of Protection was issued for Mrs. M which excluded the daughter from the home. After being excluded from the home, the daughter phoned the social worker for - 3 -

5 (continued) Albert Vann assistance with finding a drug detoxification program. The social worker made some calls to various programs and the daughter was admitted to a 90 day program. Mrs. H, age 82, lives with her 84 year old husband in Brooklyn. They have four adult children living out of state. The level of contact is unclear. During the initial contact with the JASA LEAP social worker, Mrs. H stated that she wanted an order of protection against her husband of 30 years, reporting that she has suffered for many years from his verbal abuse. Mrs. H said that she is known at the 77 th precinct due to the number of times she has called concerning her husband s abuse. The Precinct s Domestic Violence Officer advised the client to obtain a Family Court Order of Protection, but she was reluctant. Mrs. H said that she had heard horror stories of being unsuccessful. The officer referred her to the JASA-LEAP program, having worked with the staff on a number of like cases. Mrs. H told the social worker that she suffered from chronic pulmonary disease and she was unable to spend the day in Family Court. The LEAP social worker advised Mrs. H that JASA would help her with the paperwork and court appearances. The social worker helped prepare the FC petition for the client, stayed with her during her telephone appearance and supported her until the court appointed her an attorney. The LEAP social worker also accompanied Mrs. H to have the petition notarized. Mrs. H received a two year limited order of protection which advised her husband he could not harass, threaten or menace Mrs. H. JASA arranged for the NYC Marshall s Office to serve the summons to Mr. H. Mrs. H continues to participate in LEAP Support Groups. She says that she would have taken action sooner had she known that JASA LEAP would be so helpful to her. Mrs. C is a 71 year old widow. She owns a house in North Brooklyn and lives there with her daughter s family. Mrs. C suffers from diabetes and asthma. Mrs. C sought out JASA Brooklyn LEAP services in December, 2010 because of her son-in-law s long term verbal abuse and intimidation. At one time, Mrs. C had a very positive relationship with son-in-law. However, everything changed after Mrs. C s husband passed away in Her son-in-law started harassing Mrs. C, with statements that made it clear that he felt as if he now had - 4 -

6 (continued) Brad Lander David Greenfield a claim to her home. Mrs. C reported that her son-in-law also threatened to have Mrs. C declared incompetent so that he could take her house away. Mrs. C felt very apprehensive about pursuing any family court action, not wanting to alienate her daughter and fearful that her son-in-law would have better access to legal representation because of his financial resources. The JASA social worker helped Mrs. C understand her options and is supporting her through the Family Court legal process; Mrs. C has initiated the procedure to secure an order of protection to have him excluded from her home. JASA has also helped Mrs. C secure legal services through her union. Mrs. C is planning to join the LEAP Support Group in April. Mrs. P is a 76 year old Russian-speaking woman who lives in Brighton Beach. She lives with her husband and 47 year old mentally disabled son. She has been married 48 years. Her daughter lives in Staten Island and does not have much contact with her parents or brother. Mrs. P suffers from arthritis, high blood pressure and vision problems. She receives home attendant services through Medicaid. Mrs. P came to the attention of the office of the Brooklyn District Attorney s office because of her complaints about her husband s physical and verbal abuse. She decided not to press criminal charges she said that she didn t want her husband in jail and the case was referred to JASA LEAP. With the translation services of Russian speaking staff from another JASA program, JASA s LEAP social worker helped Mrs. P understand the process and potential outcomes of obtaining an order of protection. Mrs. P agreed and JASA helped her secure a limited order of protection. She reported that the abuse stopped but she still didn t feel safe living in the same apartment with her abusive husband and she asked for assistance to pursue a legal separation from her husband. Her plan is to move to another apartment with her son. Mrs. P primary source of income is SSI and she has few resources. JASA s social worker referred her to the Brooklyn Volunteer Lawyers project and they are currently assisting her with getting an uncontested divorce. Mrs. P s English is very limited and JASA arranged for the services of the Language Line, available through the Family Justice Center, to help her through this process. JASA s Brooklyn LEAP staff continues to be available to Mrs. P to support her and insure her safety during this transition period

7 (continued) Lewis Fidler Mrs. L, in her early 80 s, was living with her 49 year old daughter in an apartment subsidized by Section 8. Her daughter, a long term substance abuser, was physically threatening her. As the violent threats from her daughter escalated, Mrs. L contacted the police and was able, on her own, to obtain a limited order of protection from family court. She also moved in with another daughter who lives in Brooklyn. However, this was not a permanent solution; this daughter has 4 grandchildren living with her in a small apartment. Mrs. L did not feel safe moving back to the apartment she formerly shared with her daughter. Unfortunately, the section 8 benefit is in both Mrs. L s and her daughter s names. JASA LEAP is assisting her with legal services to separate her own Section 8 eligibility from her daughter s, and working with her to identify appropriate alternate housing, including senior housing. Mrs. L has also joined the LEAP support group. At this time the daughter is staying away from the mother. (continued) Michael Nelson Mr. M is aged 89. He is widowed and resides with his 60 year old son, Mr. A, in an apartment in Manhattan Beach. Mr. M has two other older sons who both live out of state. One of Mr. M s older sons called the Brooklyn District Attorney s office, alleging that his father was being physically and psychologically abused by the brother with whom Mr. M lives. The allegation stated that Mr. A pushed Mr. M to the kitchen floor after an argument. Mr. M reported that the home has been relatively calm since the incident and although he did not want to press criminal charges against his son he did want to pursue a Family Court Full Order of Protection to have his son removed from the apartment. The case was referred to JASA LEAP. Mr. M is mobile and was reported to be in good health. The LEAP social worker met with Mr. M at his home to initiate the process to secure the Full Order of Protection. (Mr. M and his son continue living together, but the son leaves the house early in the day, returning late at night.) The social worker conducted extensive safety planning with Mr. M and arranged for the Domestic Violence Officer to make unannounced visits. The social worker also drafted the petition for the Family Court Order of Protection, filed the paperwork in Family Court and arranged car service to and from Family Court for Mr. M. She also filed the paperwork with the Marshals office to serve the son with the summons. The social - 6 -

8 (continued) worker appeared before the judge on behalf of the client until an attorney was assigned to the case. When the attorney was assigned the social worker worked with the attorney to prepare Mr. M for the next court appearance. The case is scheduled for trial on April 14, JASA LEAP will continue to support Mr. M throughout the process and ongoing. At this time, LEAP has arranged for door-to door transportation service for Mr. M to travel to Family Court and back

9 - 8 -

10 The Face of Elder Abuse Council of Senior Centers and Services of NYC, Inc. 49 West 45 th Street 7 th Floor New York, New York

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