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Elder Abuse is Against the Law.

It is difficult to face the fact that an older individual or an individual with disabilities may be being mistreated, but unfortunately those least able to care for themselves are most vulnerable to abuse. Family member, dating or sexual violence against older individuals or individuals with disabilities exists as a hidden, silent and unrecognized issue.

Types of abuse:

• Physical–use of physical force that may result in bodily injury (e.g. slapping, shaking, restraining, force-feeding)

• Sexual–any non-consensual sexual contact (e.g. unwanted touching, sexual assault, coerced nudity, sexually explicit photographing)

• Emotional–infliction of anguish, pain or distress (e.g. intimidating, humiliating, threatening, treating older individual like an infant, giving them the "silent treatment")

• Neglect–refusal or failure to provide goods or services necessary to avoid physical harm or mental anguish (e.g. abandonment, denial of food or health related services)

• Financial–illegal or improper use of an individual's funds, property or assets (e.g. cashing checks without authorization, forging a signature, deceiving individual into signing an important document)

More than two-thirds of the perpetrators of abuse against older individuals are family members in the caregiving role (www.elderabusecenter.org). Abuse of older individuals or individuals with disabilities can occur anywhere, including nursing homes, residential care facilities and domestic settings. This abuse can also include self-neglect. The Women's Resource Center's victim advocates work to end the silence around this abuse by educating community members and assisting victims and their families.

Adult Protective Services (APS) are provided by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. APS's goal is to reduce or remove the risk of physical or mental harm that has occurred or is occurring to a person as a result of abuse, neglect or exploitation. Call the DPHHS Centralized Intake number to report abuse of an older individual or an individual with disabilities toll free at 1-866-597-0590 or call your local APS office.

See links on Resources page for additional information.