SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – A $500,000.00 U.S. Department of Justice grant has been awarded to Vera House, Inc., a not-for-profit agency working to end domestic and sexual violence and elder abuse in Central New York, announced Acting United States Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon. Under the grant, Vera House will establish its Expanding CORE (Community-Based Options to Respond to Elder Abuse) Program in three apartment buildings in Syracuse. According to Vera House, communities served by the Expanding CORE Program are low-income, racially and ethnically diverse, and represent a significant population of English as a Second Language speakers.
“We are pleased that this Department of Justice grant will support Vera House’s Elder Abuse programs in Central New York particularly because the isolation required by COVID-19 has left many older Americans more vulnerable to abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Our commitment to fighting elder abuse and supporting victims will never waver,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Antoinette Bacon.
Vera House Abuse in Later Life Project Coordinator Jenny Ackley said, “Our project planning team has been evaluating the use of restorative practices for cases of elder abuse for several years, and I’m thrilled that we were awarded this innovative grant to help reach additional older adults in our community. By embedding service staff within the residences of older adults, we hope to build rapport and establish trusted relationships with them and reach those who may be reluctant to use, or unable to access existing services. We are hopeful these services will restore safety and security to older victims of abuse.”
“Community partners like Vera House are vital to our work combatting elder abuse and exploitation, and we look forward to collaborating with them to provide support to victims and witnesses,” said Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shira Hoffman and Christopher Moran, who prosecute elder abuse cases for the United States Attorney’s Office.
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs awarded grants totaling $9.4 million to combat elder abuse and financial fraud targeted at seniors across the United States. Elder abuse is an intentional or negligent act by any person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to an older adult. Attorney General William P. Barr announced the awards on October 1st the 30th anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons.
Approximately $7.9 million of the funds were awarded to jurisdiction and service providers in the United States under two of Office for Victims of Crime grant programs. OJP’s National Institute of Justice awarded the remaining $1.4 million for related research projects.
The Office of Justice Programs, directed by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan, provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, assist victims and enhance the rule of law by strengthening the criminal and juvenile justice systems. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.