New Program Gives Indiana Elders a Voice Against Abuse
There is a new program from Indiana Legal Services which provides elders and endangered adults more resources if they fall victim to crimes such as elder abuse and exploitation.This program is known as Legal Assistance for Victimized Adults (LAVA). LAVA was established at the beginning of the year with a grant from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. According to Michael Patterson, the state director for Adult Protective Services. Since 2013, the number of exploitation cases has increased 10 to 15 percent each year.
LAVA provides legal representation to seniors and endangered adults who have suffered abuse, neglect or exploitation. Among many of the services, the program can provide legal representation, file civil actions on behalf of a victim, file protective orders and fight to recoup financial loss from scams or from the exploitation by a guardian or someone with power of attorney. The program also works with county prosecutors when pursuing criminal charges for egregious offenses.
There are some age and mental guidelines on who can qualify for LAVA services, but the specialization allows for the program to help those who are truly disadvantaged. According to Jessica Brock, an Indiana Legal Services attorney, only about one out of every 25 cases of elder abuse or exploitation is reported. Through its grant, LAVA has funding for two years.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of elder abuse you can call 1-800-992-6978 or the Sweeney Law Firm.