Legislators Approve Funding to Help Law Enforcement Fight Elder Abuse

Legislators Approve Funding to Help Law Enforcement Fight Elder Abuse

Written By: Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino

WHITE PLAINS, NY –The Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) and County Executive Rob Astorino have teamed up to deliver funding that would provide enhanced training to municipal law enforcement agencies to help them address elder abuse, neglect and exploitation including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking, involving victims who are 50 years of age or older.  According to AARP, there are 108.7 million Americans in that age group.

On Monday, the BOL unanimously approved an inter municipal agreement (IMA) between the County and the Town of Greenburgh that would finance the Greenburgh Police Department’s participation in an interdisciplinary partnership to train other law enforcement agencies to better identify and intervene in cases of elder-abuse.

The funding, which totals, $15,880.00 is derived from a grant the county successfully applied for from the United States Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women.  The IMA extends through September of 2017.

Seniors and Constituencies Committee Chair Legislator Bernice Spreckman (R) Yonkers has been a very vocal advocate for Seniors throughout her years of public service.  “I hear very disturbing stories about abuse among our seniors.  Many are afraid to speak out because they think it will only make the abuse worse.  While our police agencies do an excellent job of keeping seniors safe, I think this enhanced training will give them more tools to identify when elder-abuse is happening, especially when the victims are afraid to speak up.”  Legislator Spreckman added, “People are living and staying active longer these days.  Naturally, issues that our society has traditionally associated with younger people are now confronting older residents as well.  Things like sexual assault, domestic or dating violence and stalking are happening to people later in life.  We need to make sure our law enforcement community understands these issues and knows how to handle them.”

County Executive Rob Astorino is expected to sign the IMA this week.  “Elder abuse sadly does occur and it’s often not reported.  This IMA broadens training among our local police to enable them to be better equipped to identify cases of elder abuse and intervene to stop it and protect our elderly seniors,” said Astorino.

Legislator Sheila Marcotte who is a member of the Seniors and Constituencies Committee and Chair of the Budget and Appropriations Committee praised the funding as an important investment.  “I am thrilled to support this partnership because of the important need that it addresses but I am especially happy that it equips our law enforcement community, through curriculum approved by the Department of Justice to be ‘trainers’ themselves.  This modest investment will allow our law enforcement community as well as our non-profit partners to continue this type of enhanced training for years to come.”

Legislator David Gelfarb (R) Rye Brook is Chair of the Public Safety Committee.  “This agreement provides our law enforcement community very important training in identifying and  responding to elder abuse.” Gelfarb said, “Our seniors deserve all we can do for them when it comes to their safety and health.  This initiative will better equip our first line responders in protecting  our older friends, family and neighbors.”

Other groups involved in the interdisciplinary partnership are, The Pace Women’s Justice Center, the Westchester District Attorney’s Office, Victim’s Assistance Services and The Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at The Hebrew Home.