Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas recently announced the creation of Long Island’s first Elder Abuse Multi-Disciplinary Team. The team, consisting of 15 agencies and individuals, will tackle Nassau County’s most complex elder abuse cases. Nassau County is home to approximately 220,000 people more than 65 years of age and is projected to have more than 277,000 by 2025, according to the New York State Office for the Aging.
Through monthly, two-hour meetings, scheduled to begin in January 2019, the MDT will discuss cases and develop a plan to reduce the risk of abuse and provide services for the victim. The team consists of professionals from Adult Protective Services, Office for the Aging, law enforcement, health care, non-profit social services, financial services, and civil legal services. Cases will be referred from various agencies and screened by the MDT coordinator before being presented to the team.
“Elder abuse cases present complex challenges that require a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary approach,” said Singas. “As our Elder Abuse Unit continues its outstanding work to hold offenders accountable, this innovative new team will collaborate to ensure that seniors victimized by these despicable crimes receive the care and support they need to live their lives safely and with the dignity they deserve.”
County Executive Laura Curran said: “Nassau County is committed to ending elder abuse of all forms, be it physical, sexual, neglectful, exploitation or abandonment. Thank you to District Attorney Singas and her team for the creation of the Long Island’s First Elder Abuse Multi-Disciplinary Team. This a tremendous step toward ensuring the well-being of Nassau County’s vulnerable adults.”
Commissioner of Police Patrick Ryder said: “The creation of the Elder Abuse Multi-Disciplinary Team is a positive step to protecting our seniors who are our parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and friends. A cohesive multi-agency approach will greatly benefit all at risk when an advocate is needed. Our seniors should always be treated with the respect and honor that they deserve and this program will greatly assist this function.”
Cynthia Scott, Executive Director of The Safe Center LI said, “The Safe Center is pleased to be part of the Nassau County Elder Abuse Multidisciplinary Team. This is a vulnerable population that often falls prey to victimization. We appreciate the opportunity to be part of this multidisciplinary process and to assist with the protection and support they deserve.”
Elder abuse is a hidden crime and takes on many forms that can include physical, emotional and sexual abuse; neglect and financial exploitation. In elder abuse cases, the perpetrator is often well-known to the victim. The common profile of an offender is an adult child, grandchild or other relative who is living with their aging parent or relative. Typically, these offenders are unemployed or underemployed, have mental health or substance abuse issues, and they rely on their older parent or relative for financial support and housing. Victims of elder abuse often do not want their loved ones arrested and prosecuted, but they want help for the offender and for the abuse to stop.
Assistant District Attorney Arlene Markarian, Chief of the NCDA’s Elder Abuse Unit, organized the MDT. The Elder Abuse Unit, formed in November 2016, focuses on physical abuse and neglect of older victims by someone who is in a familial or other trusting relationship with them. The unit also coordinates with the Financial Crimes Bureau to support the elderly victims of financial exploitation.
If you are an older adult who has been abused or someone you know is in trouble, call the NCDA’s confidential tip line at 516-571-7755.
The NCDA welcomes the following agencies and individuals to the Nassau County Elder Abuse Multi-Disciplinary Team: Jill Corriss, Adult Victim Advocate, The Safe Center LI; Vickie Curran, Senior Investigative Counsel, Financial Crimes Bureau of the Nassau County District Attorney; Kristen DeJesus, Chief Human Resources Officer, Senior VP, NEFCU; Karen Garber, LMSW, Esq., Program Coordinator, Office of Consumer & Public Info, DSS; Sgt., Sabrina Gregg, Nassau County Police Department; Josh Hanson, Associate Executive Director of The Safe Center LI: MDT Coordinator; Paulette Jones, MSW, Project Coordinator, Catholic Charities; Adam Kahn, Esq., Guardianship Attorney, Adjunct Professor and Senior Fellow for the Gitenstein Institute for Health Law and Policy at Hofstra University School of Law; Susanna Laruccia, Esq., VA accredited Staff Attorney, Veterans Rights Project, Nassau/Suffolk Law Services; Arlene Markarian, Chief of the Elder Abuse Unit, Nassau County District Attorney; Jorge Martinez, Deputy Commissioner, Dept. of Human Services, Office for the Aging; Linda Martinez, LMSW, Geriatric Team, Winthrop Hospital; Martha Mata, Director, Senior Financial Counseling Programs, HIICAP, HEAP & DCJS Financial Exploitation, and Abuse Program, Family & Children’s Association; Caitlyn Murphy, Director of NY Connects, Nassau County Office for the Aging; Dr. Alka Nischal-Rednam, MD, FACP, Geriatric Team, Winthrop Hospital; Teresa O’Donoghue, Compliance Officer, VP, NEFCU; Dan Okrent, Esq., Staff Attorney, Senior Citizen Law Project, Nassau/Suffolk Law Services; Donna Reed, Director of Care Management Services, Nassau County Office for the Aging; Alberta Rubin, LCSW-R, ACSW, Senior Director of Client Services, The Safe Center LI; Janine Sadowski, Director, Rape and Sexual Assault Dept., The Safe Center LI; Dawne Smith, Esq., Program Director, Nassau Adult Guardianship Project /In-House Counsel, EAC Network; Sarah Smith, LCSW-R, ACSW, BCD, Assistant Director, Adult Protective Services; Lisa Stern, LCSW-R, Assistant VP, Senior & Adult Services, Family & Children’s Association; Dr. Alan Steinberg, MD, Geriatric Psychiatrist, East End Neuropsychiatry Associates, P.C.; Theresa Tebbett, Chief of the Special Victims Bureau, Nassau County District Attorney; Rhonda Wainwright-Jones, MPS, Senior Director, EAC Network and Jane Zwirn-Turkin, Esq., Regional Director, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, NYS Attorney General’s Office.
—Submitted by District Attorney’s office