|County receives grant to help stop abuse of elders
Sonoma County has been awarded a $400,000 grant to aid in the fight against elder abuse.
The Office on Violence Against Women and Abuse in Later Life, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, awarded the grant in response to an application submitted by the Sonoma County Family Justice Center in 2012.
The grant provides funding for the training of law enforcement officers, judges, prosecutors, and other stakeholders regarding the proper investigation and prosecution of elder abuse cases.
“I am very pleased that Sonoma County was selected to receive these funds. My office will work closely with our local partners to protect our elder population from financial scams, neglect, and abuse,” Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said. “Sonoma County was selected from a highly competitive field of applicants to receive this award. We are committed to protecting our seniors. I look forward to using these funds to enhance the on-going efforts of local law enforcement, county agencies, and local non-profit groups to provide support to our elders, and to aggressively investigate and prosecute those responsible for abusing them.”
Under the direction of the district attorney, the Family Justice Center filed an application for the grant with support from many local partner agencies that signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” in support of the application.
These partners include the City of Santa Rosa Police Department, County of Sonoma Sheriff’s Office, Verity, Council on Aging Services, Human Services Department Adult Protective Services and Area Agency on Aging, Senior Advocacy Services/Ombudsman program, YWCA, Catholic Charities, Inter Tribal Council of California, and Legal Aid of Sonoma County. Many others wrote letters in support of the grant application, including most local law enforcement agencies, Sonoma County Probation Department, the Superior Court of the State of California, and Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane.
Elder abuse training funded by this grant will be provided to front-line law enforcement officers over a three-year period. The District Attorney’s Office has retained elder abuse advocate and former Santa Rosa Police Officer Lucia Wade to function as the grant training coordinator while she also continues her work as an elder advocate for the district attorney. Chief Deputy District Attorney Spencer Brady is the project coordinator for the grant.