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Report: More People at Risk for Elder Abuse

Orange County’s aging population is at higher risk for abuse, experts

The topic was addressed last week at an event marking World Elder
Abuse Awareness Day at the Anaheim Family Justice Center.

Hosted by Human Options, the event featured videos from survivors and
a conversation about prevention.

To view Garden Grove TV3’s news report, click here.

Domestic Violence Survivors Say Family Justice Center Helped Save Their Lives

Click on the screen to view a video about the Anaheim Family Justice Center

Click on the screen to view a video about the Anaheim Family Justice Center

Three domestic violence survivors shared personal stories of terror Thursday – and then thanked the Anaheim Family Justice Center for giving them enough confidence to walk away from abusive relationships.

“I never knew a place like this existed,” said Eva, whose husband beat her for 12 years before trying to suffocate her. “I’m really grateful that you made sure my family was safe.”

The women are among thousands of domestic, child and elder abuse and sexual assault victims who have been served by the justice center since it opened three years ago.

Survivors Eva and Lisa

Survivors Eva and Lisa

It’s Orange County’s first and only one-stop center for victims – and one of only about 50 in the nation. Community and police leaders gathered to celebrate the center’s accomplishments – and to appeal to the community for continued support.

“This center isn’t just about treating and serving victims,” said Police Chief John Welter. “It’s about preventing crime.”

The statistics are staggering. In the U.S. four people are murdered by a domestic partner each day. Half of Anaheim’s homicides result from domestic issues, Welter said.

“Can you visualize what it’s like to grow up in a household where violence in commonplace?” he asked. “We must stop the cycle.”

In the old days, said Lt. Julian Harvey, after domestic violence victims filed a police report they’d be given bus money and sent to the courthouse to file a temporary restraining order.

The justice center houses representatives from social service agencies, police, the district attorney’s office, legal aid and other agencies. Everything is handled on-site.

The center has even taken it a step further, offering a Survivor’s Academy for women like Sandra, Eva and Lisa.

The classes, attended mostly by women and offered in Spanish, include lectures in financial planning, job training and self-esteem.

Volunteer Deanna Irwin

Volunteer Deanna Irwin

They’ve had a profound impact. Sandra was in an abusive marriage. One night last summer, her husband – in a drunken rage – slammed her against a wall and then pinned her on the bed.

“At that moment I realized he wanted to end my life,” she said. Her five-year-old daughter interrupted and she got away.

“I’m grateful that a place like this exists,” she said. “Because of all of you I am still here.”

For more about the Family Justice Center and to donate, click here.

Anaheim Detective Protects Seniors by Partnering with UC Irvine Center Studying Elder Abuse

Facing pressure from her family, the bruised, elderly woman changed her story: Her grandson didn’t beat her over a television remote dispute; a cereal box fell on her.

But the size of the bruises led Det. Cherie Hill to conclude the 74-year-old woman’s original story was the truth.

New research helped prove it.

“We handle elder abuse cases completely different than we had ever handled them in the past,” she said, referring to studies that distinguish between accidents and abuse.

A member of University of California Irvine’s Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse and Neglect’s Forensic Team, Hill is the Anaheim Police Department’s expert on elder abuse. The newfound expertise and relationships have led to more “criminal filings and getting (dangerous) people off the streets,” she says.

In June, Hill discussed the recent “Geriatric Bruising Study” study at the National Institute of Justice 2009 conference in Arlington, Va.

Among the findings:

  • Bruises in half of victims were at least two inches in diameter.
  • Accidental bruises rarely occur on the neck or head.
  • Seniors who are abused can tell you how they got the bruises; Only a quarter who got them accidentally can recall the cause.

To read the study, click here.

To view the conversation, click on the image below.

Det. Cherie Hill discusses elder abuse

Det. Cherie Hill discusses elder abuse