PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lori Sitler
Phone: (302) 577-8314
Cell: (302) 247-1132
Date: May 22, 2003
GENERAL’S TASK FORCE ON SENIOR VICTIMS RELEASES FINAL REPORT
(Wilmington, DE): This morning at the Newark Senior Center, Attorney General M. Jane Brady and members of her Senior Victim Task Force gathered to release their final report, “With Respect to Senior Delawareans: A Needs Assessment and Recommendations Concerning Senior Crime Victims in Delaware.” The multidisciplinary Task Force of Delaware’s leading experts on issues of concern to senior citizens, was convened by Brady in February, 2000. They examined laws, policies and existing services relating to senior crime victims over many months. At the press conference this morning, Brady remarked, “The Task Force report underscores the critical need to improve communication, coordination, and cooperation among justice system officials and social service providers in meeting the needs of senior crime victims.”
The report calls for enactment of legislation to enhance the penalties for crimes committed against senior citizens; emphasizes the importance of increasing public awareness of the problem of senior victimization; and proposes policies and protocols to improve the investigation, prosecution, and management of cases involving crimes against seniors.
Brady highlighted some of the report’s strongest recommendations:
· Establishing professional standards and training for service providers, medical and law enforcement personnel for dealing with seniors. To this end, the Task Force developed a Model Police Department Senior Victim policy and an Elder Abuse Protocol for Medical Facilities
· Educating the public and family members concerning senior crime victimization to improve the identification of and intervention in cases of abuse and exploitation
· Improving the accessibility of services for senior crime victims through linkages with existing resources such as the Delaware Helpline.
Chief Michael Capriglione, President of the Delaware Police Chiefs’ Council and chair of the Task Force’s Law Enforcement subcommittee, discussed the Model Police Department Senior Victim Policy, “Older citizens in our communities deserve a law enforcement response that provides them with effective services. This model policy will help local police departments do that.”
Dr. Leo Burns, of the Emergency Medicine Department of the Medical Center of Delaware, chaired the Medical Services subcommittee of the Task Force. He discussed the Elder Abuse Protocol for Medical Facilities that the subcommittee recommended: “This protocol will help emergency medicine providers to identify, treat and refer victims of elder abuse for necessary medical, legal and social services. Through the use of nurses specifically trained in forensic medicine, we can expect to better service the needs of this important patient population.”
Robin Williams-Bruner, Delaware’s Public Guardian and chair of the Task Force’s Resource subcommittee which focused on the need to connect senior victims of crime to existing victim services and other social service programs, commented, “Information regarding services must be accessible and in the hands of those persons and agencies interacting with senior victims both at the time of the victimization and later as other needs emerge. The goal is to provide information to victims as well as to educate the public, including other seniors and agency staff, so that a strong advocacy network develops to support senior victims and those seniors who may be vulnerable to crime.”
Brady thanked the Task Force members for their participation, “Their knowledge and dedication was extremely valuable to our mission – to develop a blueprint for improving the State of Delaware’s response to the problem of senior victimization.”
The Task Force report is available on-line at the Attorney General’s website at attorneygeneral.delaware.gov or by calling Dawn Thompson at (302) 577-8337.