Elder abuse is a serious problem that impacts hundreds of thousands of people in this country. Elder abuse is an underreported problem because the signs often are not recognized or the problem is hidden by families.
In New Hampshire Elder Abuse is defined by law (RSA 161-F) as any action or omission that results (or could result) in harm to a vulnerable adult. The American Psychological Association defines elder abuse as the infliction of physical, emotional, or psychological harm on an older adult. Elder abuse also can take the form of financial exploitation or intentional or unintentional neglect of an older adult.
According to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services in 1980, there were 239 reports of Elder Abuse in the State. In fiscal year 2005 (from July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2005), there were 1,460 reported cases of abuse and neglect involving victims 60 years of age and older.
Abuse can happen to anyone
If you are being hit, kicked, slapped, threatened, made to feel bad or stupid, isolated from friends and family, coerced or forced into sexual activity, financially exploited, or prevented from getting a job or from having access to money, you are being abused.
Anyone can be an abuser:
Spouse, partner, child, caretaker, companion, lover or friend. If you are being abused, you may feel frightened, ashamed, sad, worthless, that you deserve to be hurt, or that you must stay with your abuser.
"This is how it has always been."
You have the right to live without violence. There are people willing to listen and support you.
YOU CAN GET HELP.
"What kind of help can I get?"
There are a number of agencies that can assist you, including the member programs of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. If you contact your local crisis center an advocate can tell you what services are available. You may be referred to another agency that can handle your situation more appropriately.
*If you are 60 years old or over, or are incapacitated, you can contact your local office of the New Hampshire Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services by calling 1-800-949-0470.
The New Hampshire Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services has additional resources:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional or psychological abuse
- Financial or material exploitation
The National Resource Center of Violence Against Women has a special collection of resources about elder abuse: Preventing and Responding to Domestic & Sexual Violence in Later Life.