For Immediate Release - October 14, 2011

D.A. Blodgett Hosts Elder Abuse Training for Clergy

Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett will host an elder abuse prevention training for members of the clergy and community leaders on Monday, October 17, from 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. at St. Vasilios Greek Orthodox Church, 5 Paleologos Street, Peabody.  Members of the media are welcome to attend.

In addition to District Attorney Blodgett’s Office, the training is sponsored by Safe Havens Interfaith Partnership Against Domestic Violence, and the Elder Justice Network of the North Shore.  Among the presenters will be Rev. Dr. Anne Marie Hunter of Safe Havens.

“During my nine years in office we have prosecuted many cases of elder abuse,” said District Attorney Blodgett.  “Some of those cases involved physical abuse, while others involved financial exploitation.  Elders may also be abused sexually or emotionally.  In 2009, 11% of older Americans reported being abused.  Their faith community is one of the first places these victims turn for help, which is why this training is so important.”

Many times the abuse comes at the hands of younger family members and victims may be afraid or ashamed to report the crime, or may be reluctant to report a person upon whom they depend for care.  Other times they elderly are abused or exploited by friends or acquaintances.  For each reported case of elder abuse, it is estimated that five cases go unreported.

In addition to directing criminal prosecutions, since taking office in 2003 District Attorney Blodgett has conducted mock trials at senior centers throughout Essex County to raise awareness among seniors about scam artists, and has hosted workshops for clergy, educators and employers on this topic.  His office also is a member of the Essex County Triad, which in part strives to educate and protect elders.

District Attorney Blodgett also produced a brochure, “What You Need to Know About Elder Abuse,” which was distributed throughout Essex County to senior centers, senior housing complexes, libraries, police stations, community agencies and other such locations.  The brochure outlines what constitutes elder abuse, what the warning signs are, and explains what happens when elder abuse is reported.  It also highlights agencies that are available to help victims and provides contact information.

“I urge everyone to be aware of the signs of elder abuse, and to take action if you suspect an elder is at risk,” said District Attorney Blodgett.