The state of West Virginia is currently experiencing a growing population who are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. As the issue of elder abuse has grown more prominent in our area, the Family Refuge Center partnered with the Committee on Aging to write a grant to provide compassionate, collaborative and evidence-based responses to this historically underserved population, and, as a result, a grant from the Division of Justice and Community Services was awarded.
Statistics have revealed that 20.7 percent of Greenbrier County’s population is over the age of 65 and that 19.4 percent of Greenbrier County’s elders live below the poverty level. This large segment of our population is some of our most vulnerable citizens, and has traditionally been underserved.
Furthermore, physical and sexual abuse, along with financial exploitation are issues our seniors are experiencing, however their resources have been limited until now. The Family Refuge Center, through this grant, has hired Brenda Walters as the Elder Abuse Victim Service Coordinator to serve Greenbrier County. Walters will create a care plan for victims, link and coordinate services from agencies, provide crisis intervention to victims, provide supportive counseling, safety planning and more.
Through the everyday work of the Elder Abuse Team, elder victims will receive essential services from professionals who have training around domestic violence issues and exploitation. Collaboration between the Family Refuge Center, local law enforcement, the prosecutor’s office, the Committee on Aging, Adult Protective Services, and the balance of the Coordinated Community Response Team consisting of medical personnel and senior ombudsmen, will ensure a cooperatively functioning group committed to sharing information and solution ideas.
For more information on the services provided under the grant, or if you or someone you know is a victim of elder abuse, contact Brenda Walters at 304-647-8592.