According to the national Administration on Aging, every year an estimated 2.1 million older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture: Experts believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported as many as five cases go unreported. Elder abuse happens, but everyone can act to protect seniors.
In 2013, the Administration on Aging (AoA), an agency of the Administration for Community Living (ACL), is sponsoring the Year of Elder Abuse Prevention (YEAP) to encourage national, state, and local organizations to protect seniors and raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
More locally, the Consortium Against Adult Abuse (C3A) works to combat the problem of elder abuse, neglect, self-neglect, and exploitation. C3A is the oldest such organization in the United States. C3A began 35 years ago when a group of concerned professionals began researching the problem of elder abuse. A few years later, C3A helped draft Ohio’s Adult Protective Service Law, as well as advocate for its passage (March 30, 1981).
Highlights of C3A’s work over the past 35 years are:
• Creation of the Domestic Violence/Elder Abuse Roundtable
• Distribution of “Break the Silence” cards to help first responders identify and report elder abuse, neglect and exploitation
• Institution of an annual, all-day professional conference providing annual recognition of leaders in the field
• Passage of Ohio’s Elder Abuse Law
C3A is comprised of an executive board and several standing committees. The board meets bi-monthly and makes program, procedural, and financial decisions that keep the work of C3A progressing. Board officers and members generally serve two-year terms. However, members may be reappointed to additional terms. Board members are representative of all 5 counties in northeast Ohio (Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, and Medina). The Consortium includes staff of all 5 county Departments of Job and Family Services which, in Ohio, have the statutory mandate to investigate all reports of suspected abuse, neglect, self-neglect, and/or exploitation of anyone 60 years old or older. C3A is supported by the Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging, which serves as the Consortium’s auspice.
For more information about C3A or to register for this year’s annual conference, “Legal Interventions in Elder Abuse” on June 14th, visit C3A’s website at c3a5county.org.
For more information about activities in Ohio relating to adult abuse, neglect, and exploitation, visit www.ocapsohio.org (Ohio Coalition for Adult Protective Services). For a national perspective on the issue, visit www.napsa-now.org (National Adult Protective Services Association).