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Brooklyn DA Hynes Announces $400,000 Federal Grant to address Elder Abuse

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Displaying compassion and care for the senior community Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes seeks to stem the tide of elder abuse and has garnered a federal grant for this specific purpose

Displaying compassion and care for the senior community Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes seeks to stem the tide of elder abuse and has garnered a federal grant for this specific purpose

Displaying compassion and care for the senior community Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes seeks to stem the tide of elder abuse and has garnered a federal grant for this specific purpose

Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes in partnership with the Jewish Association Serving the Aging (“JASA”) recently announced that Brooklyn is one of only nine jurisdictions in the country, and the first in New York City, to win a $400,000 federal elder abuse grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women. The award will address crimes against older people, commonly known as elder abuse.

The grant will fund a program called “Enhanced Training and Services to End Violence Against and Abuse of Women Later in Life,” that will bring together the expertise of the Brooklyn D.A.’s Elder Abuse Unit, NYPD and JASA. It will train criminal justice professionals, government agency staff and victim assistants to increase their ability to address elder abuse, neglect and exploitation in their communities. Further, it will enhance services for people age 50 and over who are victims of physical abuse, neglect and exploitation, including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.

“There are over 460,000 older adults in Brooklyn, many of whom are living with the painful secret that they have suffered abuse caused by a family member,” said District Attorney Hynes. “Since 1999, our Elder Abuse Unit has been at the forefront of the field, helping bring elder abuse out of the shadows, protecting victims and holding perpetrators accountable. This federal grant allows for an even more comprehensive approach to addressing abuse in Brooklyn by training and cross-training professionals in law enforcement, and service providers, and working directly with victims to enhance their safety. Our oldest residents deserve dignity and safety. This funding will assist in that goal.”

The grant includes a specific focus on the elderly Asian population, a highly underserved community, made possible through grant partnership with New York Asian Women’s Center. The grant also will provide coordinated interventions to older victims of all ethnicities and nationalities to promote their safety and well-being.

Founded in 1982, NYAWC provides dynamic leadership in the domestic violence and sexual assault fields, with counselors speaking over 12 Asian languages, including five Chinese dialects.

“The grant marks the first coordinated approach in Brooklyn to address abuse in the aging Asian community,” said NYAWC Executive Director Larry Lee. “With the stunning boom in Asian residents here, we are concerned about the cultural and linguistic gaps that can prevent elder abuse cases from coming to the fore. We are thrilled at the potential for this coordinated community response.”

JASA was founded in 1968 to provide social work, recreational, health, home care, housing, cultural, and educational programs for older adults – regardless of their race, religion, or ethnicity – to help sustain them in their homes and communities and to offer opportunities for a better quality of life. JASA provides elder abuse services to seniors throughout Brooklyn.

“We have a long history in assisting elder abuse victims, visiting them in their homes and providing social services, legal counsel and, where needed, Family Court Orders of Protection,” said Donna Dougherty, Attorney in Charge, JASA Legal Services for the Elderly. “This grant is a tremendous opportunity to educate all service providers in Brooklyn about risk assessment and safety planning, while also giving JASA the opportunity to focus on the underserved Asian community.”

“Imagine the grandmother who is physically assaulted by a loved one for money, or for the house she worked for all her life,” said Arlene Markarian, Chief of the D.A.’s Elder Abuse Unit. “That level of trauma, sometimes combined with physical or cognitive disability, makes these cases extremely complex. What we know for sure is that it takes a team.”

Other jurisdictions awarded 2013 Office on Violence Against Women elder abuse grants are: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Rochester New York, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

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