Abuse unit prosecutes crimes involving seniors
May 29, 2009
Question: I am so distressed about that poor 89-year-old man who was severely beaten by his son and subsequently died. The Medical Examiner's Office found that he died of "natural causes," but the beating had to have been related. Is there an advocacy group for elders who can make sure this son gets prosecuted to the full extent of the law?
Answer: The Elder Abuse Justice Unit was set up last year by Honolulu Prosecutor Peter Carlisle and is dedicated to prosecuting crimes involving victims 60 years and over.
Members of the unit have been specially trained in matters of elder abuse, both physical and financial, said Scott Spallina, deputy prosecutor in charge of the unit.
The team meets monthly with the Honolulu Police Department and the state Adult Protective Services, and works closely with trained victim advocates from a number of community agencies.
"Elder abuse is a very complex issue; it takes more than one agency to address it," Spallina said.
He also noted that the unit is "a vertical prosecution team," meaning one attorney will see a case through from beginning to end.
According to the Elder Abuse Justice Unit Web site, www.co.honolulu.hi.us/prosecuting/elder+abuse-main.htm, "Elder Abuse is a grossly under-reported crime. More than 2 million elderly Americans are victims of neglect or mistreatment every year."
The National Elder Abuse Incident Study found that only 15 percent of all elder abuse is reported.
To address that fact, Spallina said the elder abuse unit seeks to bring about community awareness through participation in senior events and speaking engagements.
Call 768-7536 or e-mail email@example.com for more information.
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