Seattle City Council
8/31/2005 10:07:00 AM
Michael Fong (206) 684-8808
STOPPING ELDER ABUSE
TV viewers asked to call in and join live Council Forum
SEATTLE— As our elderly population grows, incidents of elder abuse escalate. The number of reported cases in 2004 is on pace to rise 12% in Seattle next year. Meanwhile, the National Center for Elder Abuse says only about a sixth of all cases are reported. That means 84% remain hidden.
Television viewers (on Seattle Channel 21) are invited to call into a live City Council Forum on Elder Abuse Wednesday, September 14th, from 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. in Council Chambers (2nd floor of City Hall at 600 4th Avenue between Cherry and James Streets). Adults, who have experienced the despair of abuse and neglect, will share their stories and concerns.
The number of elderly people in Seattle is increasing rapidly. The percentage over the age of 85 is one-third higher in Seattle than anywhere else in the U.S. and 19% of those over 65 live alone. As former director of the Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens, Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen understands that the most powerful tool in stopping elder abuse and neglect is public awareness of the issue and the importance of reporting cases of suspected abuse or neglect.
“Elder abuse and neglect is a crime and we want to share crucial information about what people can do to help identify and stop this growing problem,” said Councilmember Rasmussen. “Law enforcement experts will tell us how we can protect the vulnerable people in our communities and in our families.” Rasmussen is advocating for more resources to investigate and prevent elder abuse. The Seattle Police Department has only one detective to investigate all elder abuse cases.
The Council’s Elder Abuse Forum will be broadcast live on the Seattle Channel 21. Viewers will be able to call the panel to report concerns or to ask questions by calling 206-684-8821.
“We are concerned about all adults who are vulnerable,” says Maggie Baker, PhD, from the University of Washington School of Nursing and chair of King County’s Elder Abuse Council, who will speak at the forum. “That means anyone 18 years of age or older who, because of physical, mental, or sensory disability are unable to take care of their basic daily needs.”
At the Forum Diane Wherley, Domestic Violence Unit, Seattle Police Department, will speak on the nature and scope of the problem and the warning signs. Page Ulrey, Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, King County Prosecutor's Office, will also speak and answer questions.