The Pierce County Prosecutor's Office is committed to vigorously prosecuting crimes against vulnerable victims. Protecting our community's most vulnerable members is a top priority. That’s why we’re pleased to announce the Kickoff of the Pierce County Elder Abuse Project.
“We are leading an effort to bring stakeholders together,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “This will make our community safer for our elderly citizens.”
Pierce County was awarded $370,985 from the Department of Justice to support a comprehensive approach to addressing elder abuse. The Prosecutor’s Office, which secured one of nine nationwide grants, is teaming up with local law enforcement agencies and victim service organizations to increase and strengthen training, form a community response team and improve access to victim services.
The grant will fund the creation of a coordinated community response team, comprised of experts from a variety of disciplines who will work together to develop a comprehensive plan to respond to elder abuse in Pierce County. The team will be able to quickly respond to victim safety concerns, connect victims to vital services, preserve evidence and apprehend the perpetrator if necessary.
Project Partners include:
*Pierce County Sheriff’s Department
*Tacoma Police Department
*Lakewood Police Department
*University Place Police Department
*Adult Protective Services
*Pierce County Community Connections Aging and Disability Resources
*Korean Women’s Association
*Crystal Judson Family Justice Center
*Pierce County Superior Court Judges
*Pierce County District Court Judges
*Lakewood Municipal Court Judge
*Puyallup Tribe Elder Services and Wellness Center
The Prosecutor’s Office formed the Elder Abuse Unit in 2011. It was led by Deputy Prosecutor Erika Nohavec (who also wrote the grant) until she was promoted to a Division Chief. The current team chief, Deputy Prosecutor Sven Nelson, now leads the Pierce County Elder Abuse Project. Sven has experience prosecuting a variety of crimes including domestic violence, sexual assault, property crimes, identity theft, and homicides. Sven has worked closely with community response teams in the context of child abuse cases and is the perfect choice to assemble and lead a similar team for elder abuse.
Elderly victims may be vulnerable due to declining health and memory, and are often hesitant to report abuse, especially if the offender is a family member. In the first five years of its existence, the unit has prosecuted nearly 250 cases of elder abuse.
If you know someone who is in immediate danger, call 911 or local law enforcement.
For more information, call Adult Protective Services: 1-866-END-HARM