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LGBTQ Pride Month

This Pride month marks five years since the Supreme Court Windsor decision, and three years since Obergefell v. Hodges, which gave full marriage equality in all states and territories. While this is a significant advancement, the rash of new proposed laws and the Supreme Court rulings in recent years, even recent weeks, show that we have not achieved full equality under the law. 

Unfortunately, one place where there is full parity is the experience of abuse. In a 2015 report, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs showed that “Intimate Partner Violence within LGBTQ and HIV affected communities exists in concert with and is exacerbated by the broader forms of anti-LGBTQ and other forms of bias and discrimination that survivors experience. This is especially true for LGBTQ survivors with multiple marginalized identities, such as LGBTQ survivors of color, LGBTQ undocumented survivors, and LGBTQ survivors with disabilities.”

For older adults who are LGBTQ there is a knowledge of what was and how one had to function to survive oppression, arrest or institutionalization As recent as 1991, in my state of Virginia, it was still illegal to serve alcohol to a known “homosexual.” The state’s law reads “… a bar’s license may be suspended or revoked if the bar has become a meeting place and rendezvous for users of narcotics, drunks, homosexuals, prostitutes, pimps, panderers, gamblers or habitual law violators….”

For many LGBTQ older adults this is not just history but also the reality. When your abuser is your intimate partner or adult child it is often far scarier to call the local law enforcement or even reach out to domestic or sexual assault programs. When in the middle of a trauma it is difficult to educate service providers about your issues and needs, and even harder if  your recent memory of interaction with law enforcement involved getting arrested for being who you are. 

This is explained by the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging  and Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) in their resource guide: “Despite the fact that we live in a time of tremendous social change and increasing visibility and inclusion of LGBT people, it is important to remember that today’s LGBT older adults came of age in an era that was far less affirming of their identities. For some, their true sexual orientations and gender identities were dangerous secrets that could result in loss of work, housing, and family, as well as the stigma of being labeled as criminals, sinners, and mentally ill. History taught this generation that hiding— presenting as heterosexual and gender conforming—was the key to physical, social, and financial survival. Therefore, many LGBT older people greatly feared association with a more open LGBT community, a feeling some hold to this day.” 

Has your agency done its homework to be welcoming and inclusive of older LGBTQ adults? Here are some questions to consider:

  • What is your outreach to the LGBTQ community?
  • How does your agency let the LGBTQ community know they are educated about the issues of your local LGBTQ community and have addressed the barriers that make accessing the services difficult?
  • Do your promotional materials feature older adults of all types of races, nationalities, genders, and orientations?
  • Is your staff and board reflective of the community in which you live?

The following are some resources with relevant information on working with LGBTQ communities:

We have much to celebrate and yet there is much work to do! This Pride month we invite you to show your support and pride.  

Happy Pride! 

Lisa and the NCALL staff

 

Lisa G. Furr is a Program Manager for the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life.

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Greetings!

As we celebrate 2018 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, I find myself proudly looking back on the year and on our many efforts at the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL) to further our mission of fostering a collaborative, inclusive, survivor-centered response to abuse in later life. I want to share some of that progress with you. Over the past year, NCALL has:

  • Supported grantees of the Office on Violence Against Women’s Abuse in Later Life grant program to train criminal justice systems professionals and victim services providers and other professionals, to create or enhance a coordinated community response to abuse in later life, and to provide effective victim services to older survivors in their local communities.
  • Collaborated with the VERA Institute of Justice’s Center on Victimization and Safety, the Office for Victims of Crime, and many other project partners to help to co-create the new National Center for Reaching Victims (Center). The aim of the Center is to enhance services and resources for older survivors and other underserved populations of crime victims.
  • Elevated the voices of older victims through our Lifting Up Voices of Older Survivors video project. Through this project, we will create educational videos for professionals and community members. The videos will focus the lived experiences of older victims and help build the capacity of a range of professionals, who work with older victims of abuse.

I am excited about the work we have done at NCALL and where we can go in the years to come through hard work, partnership, and with an unwavering focus on centering older victims who live at the margins of the margins.

Author and social critic, James Baldwin, once said of the struggle for dignity, equality, and racial justice:

One can give nothing whatever without giving of oneself – that is to say, risking oneself. If one cannot risk oneself, then one is simply incapable of giving. And, after all, one can give freedom by setting someone free.”

In an increasing challenging environment, we, as a field, must ask the critical question of what we can give of ourselves to older victims who live a daily struggle for dignity and justice. As communities of color, immigrants and refugees, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities, and many other historically marginalized individuals encounter increasing and compounding oppression and xenophobia, we must fix our vision and our efforts on doing all that we can to advance the cause of justice for all older victims, especially those who are the most marginalized.

As we continue to labor in service of our vision of a society which respects all older adults, we must constantly inquire and analyze what we are risking, what more we can risk, and for whom we must risk more in the quest for a world where all forms of oppression are dismantled and older victims from all communities live free from abuse. Each day we do our work, NCALL joins with those who are answering this call for critical analysis.

On this World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, I offer my commitment to continuing to push for the dignity of older victims and the concurrent and the inextricably related struggle for equity and justice. I also offer NCALL’s unwavering support for those working on behalf of older victims and for a vision of a better future for all.

In solidarity,

Juanita & the NCALL team

 

Juanita Davis, J.D., is a Program Manager for the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life.

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On June 7, 2018,  NCALL and the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) hosted a 90-minute webinar in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This webinar featured a 50-minute international conversation between Bonnie Brandl (United States), Dr. Jane Mears (Australia), Bridget Penhale (United Kingdom), and Laura Tamblyn Watts (Canada), as well as a discussion of new work, resources, and funding opportunities. Use the links below to access the full 90-minute webinar recording and its resource materials. You can also view the 50-minute international conversation alone by choosing the corresponding link below.


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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was launched in 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization  at the United Nations as a way for communities to raise awareness of elder abuse and neglect around the world. By setting aside a day, June 15, to focus on the cultural, social, economic, and demographic factors that contribute to the abuse and neglect of older adults, we hope to reduce or eliminate the astounding human and financial costs of abuse in later life.

Check out our WEAAD planning sheet to find ideas for raising awareness and supporting older survivors on June 15 and throughout the year. For additional ideas on how you can take action and to locate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day events near you, we invite you to visit the Administration for Community Living, National Center on Elder Abuse, and USC Center on Elder Mistreatment World Elder Abuse Awareness Day microsite at: http://eldermistreatment.usc.edu/weaad-home/.

New Training and Educational Resources!
This June, we're making it even easier to learn about elder abuse and the unique issues facing older adults and survivors of abuse. In conjunction with WEAAD, we are pleased to release three new Training of Trainers (TOT) Modules to round out our Trainers' Toolkit. The modules, featuring NCALL Director, Bonnie Brandl, aim to provide trainers with tips and strategies to lead successful training events. The Trainers' Toolkit also features PowerPoint slides and interactive training exercises for use in creating or enhancing your own elder abuse training. Find them at: www.ncall.us/for-trainers . Finally, please be sure to check out our new YouTube channel with more than 100 videos related to working with older survivors of abuse.

Selected World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2018 Events
Please follow us throughout the month on Twitter and Facebook and make plans to join the NCALL team for the following World Elder Abuse Awareness Day events:

June 7, 2pm ET: A Webinar  Celebrating 2018 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day featuring an international conversation with Bonnie Brandl (United States), Dr. Jane Mears (Australia), Bridget Penhale (United Kingdom), and Laura Tamblyn Watts (Canada). During the webinar, NCALL and staff from the Canadian Association of Retired Persons will also discuss new work, resources, and funding opportunities through the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women Enhanced Training and Services to End Abuse in Later Life grant program. Register at: https://bit.ly/2HUqL75

June 28, 2pm ET: NCALL and the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit will present Protection Orders and Older Victims: A Survivor-Centered Approach, a 60-minute webinar discussing the unique needs of older survivors who are seeking protection orders. Please join us to learn how you can better support an older survivor before, during, and after the court process. Register at: https://bit.ly/2qZnee3
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