Addressing Fragmentation Through an Elder Abuse Network: The New York City Experience by ProQuest


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									© 2009 Springer Publishing Company

                                                                               Between 1984 and 1996, the department provided leadership
                                                                           for a coalition of enforcement personnel, prosecutors, and social
                                                                           workers in social service agencies who met monthly to discuss
Addressing                                                                 legislation, plan prevention, and advocacy activities and share
                                                                           information across disciplines. DFTA’s interest in promoting
Fragmentation                                                              greater coordination across agencies was propelled by its Elderly
                                                                           Crime Victims Resource Center, established in 1979. The coalition

Through an Elder Abuse                                                     never developed the infrastructure that would enable it to become
                                                                           a self-sustaining body, however, and when the DFTA staffer who
                                                                           provided the sole leadership was no longer available to carry the
Network: The New York                                                      major share of the work, the coalition disbanded. Nevertheless, con-
                                                                           tact among individual member organizations continued on issues of
City Experience                                                            common concern, and several former members hosted case consulta-
                                                                           tion groups that, meeting periodically, also kept relationships alive.
                                                                               In 2003, DFTA again reached out to elder abuse stakeholders
                                                                           working in a variety of settings, including social services, domes-
Aurora Salamone, MPS                                                       tic violence programs, academia, law enforcement, and New York
Donna Dougherty, JD                                                        City government. DFTA invited them to participate on an advi-
Gail Evans, MA                                                             sory committee that would provide direction to the creation of
                                                                           a training curriculum for law enforcement officers, prosecutors,
                                                                           and relevant court personnel. The curriculum would cover the
                                                                           signs and symptoms of physical abuse, mental abuse, and finan-

         s in many municipalities, New York City’s approach to             cial exploitation of the elderly and the most effective approaches
         elder abuse is fragmented. Different funding streams and          to ensure the prosecution of these crimes. DFTA had received a
         legislative mandates seeking to address elder abuse have          2-year grant from the Department of Justice to develop the curric-
created separate systems with divergent goals, priorities, and views.      ulum and train on it. Partnering with DFTA on the grant were the
In addition, the lack of mandatory reporting requirements has cre-         Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Coordinator, the Mayor’s Office
ated an environment in which little or no data about elder abuse           to Combat Domestic Violence, the New York Police Department
are exchanged among agencies, and there is no unified approach to           and two community-based nonprofit organizations, the Jewish
advocacy, worker training, public education, and outreach. Adding          Association of Services for the Aged (JASA), and the Center
to the problem, there has been tremendous growth and special-              Against Domestic Violence. The 20-member advisory commit-
ization in victim services over the last two decades. Professionals        tee reviewed the curriculum and many contributed sections. This
in many fields outside of law enforcement, prosecution, victim              experience of working together on a common project forged new
services, and the courts—fields traditionally concerned with elder          relationships, strengthened old ones, and reinforced the conviction
abuse—are not connected to the elder abuse system although they            of all concerned that New York City would benefit greatly from a
increasingly encounter cases of such abuse, neglect, exploitation,         coordinated approach to problems of fragmentation in elder abuse
and domestic violence requiring an immediate and appropriate               prevention, prosecution, and services.
    This article is about The New York City Elder Abuse Network1
                                                                               BACKGROUND TO NETWORK FORMATION
(NYCEAN), formed in 2006 to address fragmentation and lack of a
unified approach by (a) facilitating linkages among police, prosecu-        In 2004, New York state held a Summit on Elder Abuse that cre-
tors, providers of direct elder abuse services (e.g., legal and victims’   ated an action agenda. The New York State Coalition 
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