The crisis of elder abuse in our country is acute and threatens a growing population. More than 10% of older adults are victims of caregiver neglect, financial fraud and exploitation, and/or psychological, physical and sexual abuse every year.
From August 2016 to September 2018, the Elder Justice AmeriCorps mobilized 25 Fellows and 125 law students at 22 host organizations across the country to provide direct representation to older victims of abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation, and to increase resources in the legal profession to address the need in the future. Over two years, the Fellows collectively:
- delivered direct legal services to more than 2,000 victims of elder abuse;
- trained social workers, medical professionals, and law enforcement to recognize signs of abuse and refer victims and their families to legal aid offices and other social services; and
- developed or enhanced collaboration with multidisciplinary teams on elder abuse (MDTs) to facilitate holistic services for older crime victims.
Equal Justice Works partnered with Justice in Aging, a nationally recognized organization that serves older adults, to provide tailored training and technical assistance to support the Fellows’ legal work. Fellows also received training and mentorship from their host organiations and attended the annual Equal Justice Works Leadership Development Training in Washington, D.C.
The Elder Justice AmeriCorps made a significant contribution towards increasing access to justice for elder abuse victims and building the capacity among service providers to spot elder abuse incidents, make referrals and collaborate to address elder abuse in their communities. Equal Justice Works continues to support Fellows providing representation to older crime victims through the Elder Justice Program.
The Elder Justice AmeriCorps was funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) in a cooperative arrangement with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative and Office for Victims of Crime, support by the Office for Access to Justice. Additional funds were provided by Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, MetLife Foundation, and Retirement Research Foundation.
Contact [email protected] to learn more.