“What they found was striking. Almost two-thirds of participants reported experiencing at least one kind of adversity, and 13 percent — about 1 in 8 — said they had experienced four or more. Those who reported experiencing high doses of trauma as children were far more likely to have serious health problems as adults, including heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes. And the higher their ACEs score, the worse their health was likely to be.”
“Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaks during a news conference at the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Aug. 14, 2018. A Pennsylvania grand jury says its investigation of clergy sexual abuse identified more than 1,000 child victims.” — MATT ROURKE / AP
“A state study released Thursday (February 14, 2019) found the number of Pennsylvania children killed or nearly killed after abuse had occurred spiked recently, increases likely driven by a new definition of abuse and an uptick in its reporting in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky and Roman Catholic clergy child sexual abuse scandals.
“The state Human Services Department report into fatalities and near fatalities during 2015 and 2016 showed both types of reports were up sharply after being fairly level for the preceding six years.
“The number of substantiated fatalities and near fatalities ranged between 80 and 92 from 2009 through 2014. In 2016, that number was 127.”
Sexual abuse is non-consensual sexual contact by one person upon another. It may happen as the result of deceiving, manipulating, or forcing the resident into sexual contact. Sexual abuse is a form of elder abuse that frequently goes underreported, under-investigated, and unnoticed. In 2016, Ombudsman programs investigated 819 complaints regarding sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse can take on many forms and includes:
- Unwanted intimate touching of any kind, especially to breasts or genital area;
- Rape, oral or anal sex;
- Forced nudity;
- Forced observation of masturbation and/or pornography; and
- Taking sexually explicit photographs or audio/video recordings of a resident and distributing them online or in-person. This includes pictures or recordings of residents that are not fully clothed while they are being cared for (bathing, dressing, etc.).
“Unfortunately, the sexual abuse of elders is poorly understood and under-researched. The elderly victims of sexual abuse often have medical problems that result in difficulties communicating, confusion, or memory loss — all of which interfere with the ability of the elder to report the abuse.”
“Elder sexual abuse is defined as an action against an elder that is unwanted and sexual in origin. It usually involves those older than 60 years of age.” – SOURCE: Nursing Home Abuse Center
Protecting Rights and Preventing Abuse | Increased Investment to Strengthen Adult Protective Services
The Administration for Community Living has announced an approximately $3 million investment in the development of tools and infrastructure to support states in building Adult Protective Services (APS). The investment is the result of a partnership between ACL’s Office of Elder Justice and Adult Protective Services and ACL’s Office of Performance and Evaluation. ACL plans to undertake the following tasks:
- Update the National Voluntary Consensus Guidelines for State Adult Protective Services Systems, create a dissemination plan for the guidelines, and produce a research agenda for evidence-based best practices;
- Design and implement an APS client outcomes study evaluating how various micro-, mezzo-, and macro- system components impact APS client outcomes; and
- Create an inventory of screening and assessment tools used by APS and others to screen for elder abuse, and assess each tool’s level of validity.
All people have the right to live their lives with dignity and respect, free from abuse of any kind. Unfortunately, far too many older adults and people with disabilities are abused, neglected or exploited. ACL is committed to developing systems and programs that prevent abuse from happening, protecting people from abusive situations, and supporting people who have experienced abuse to help them recover.
“An internal Pennsylvania state government watchdog agency is criticizing how county-level agencies investigate thousands of complaints they receive about elder abuse and how the state ensures complaints are investigated adequately.
“Among the shortcomings identified by the Office of State Inspector General were failures by some county-level agencies to properly investigate complaints under timelines required by state law and inadequate staffing of the state office that monitors those agencies.
“A six-page summary of the report released this week also said investigative practices aren’t standardized across counties and it criticized training requirements for caseworkers as far too weak, particularly compared to model states.
“Complaints can involve physical abuse, self-neglect or financial exploitation and Pennsylvania, like other states, is seeing a fast-growing number of complaints that has forced some counties to hire more caseworkers to keep up.”
Continue reading this Penn Live article, click here.
This opinion column, Paul Muschick: Pennsylvania’s elderly deserve protection from abuse and neglect, appears in The Morning Call.
Here is the Pennsylvania Department of Aging’s Statement on the Office of State Inspector General’s Report on Older Adults Protective Services: The Department of Aging is steadfast in its commitment to uphold its duties under the Older Americans.
“A number of news organizations, including the Reading Eagle in a Nov. 5 Right-to-Know request, had sought the report. After being denied the report in December, Wolf’s office said they intended to release a summary online.” – from a January 9, 2019 article in The Reading Eagle.
Nuns killed children, say former residents of St. Joseph’s Catholic Orphanage
This BuzzFeed article is shocking and not easy to read.
Take a deep breath, because this is an explosive and difficult story. Millions of American children were placed in orphanages. Some didn’t make it out alive.
After hearing whispers that seemed almost too awful to believe, BuzzFeed News investigative reporter Christine Kenneally embarked on a four-year-long journey to find out what really went on in these institutions. BuzzFeed News publishes her special investigation, with a powerful video, revealing the systematic abuse and even the alleged murder of children by nuns.
Her searing report — part true crime drama, part ghost story — cracks open a secret history of American life, and adds a vast new dimension to the Catholic church’s mistreatment of children.
From a world shrouded in secrecy, she tells the story of Sally Dale, Joseph Barquin, Dale Greene, and other former residents of St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington, Vermont, who somehow found the courage to come forward and tell the world what they had witnessed, begging to be heard and believed. The local Catholic diocese put up the fight of a lifetime.
The legal battle upended every assumption that the people of Burlington had. Could memory be trusted? Could forgetting be forgotten? Could a thriving community turn a blind eye to evil? And could nuns, the very women charged with protecting the most vulnerable members of society, have tortured and even killed them?
The Catholic Church abuse scandals — including this month’s Pennsylvania grand jury report on how the church hid the crimes of hundreds of priests — shattered the silence that for so long had protected the church’s secrets. But the truth about what went on inside its American orphanages somehow remained unspoken.
Across thousands of miles, across decades, the abuse in orphanages took eerily similar forms. People who grew up in orphanages said they were made to kneel or stand for hours, sometimes with their arms straight out. Children were forced to eat their own vomit. Children were dangled upside-down out windows, over wells, or in laundry chutes. They were locked in cabinets, in closets, in attics, sometimes for days.
While other countries have opened national inquiries, in the US, there has been no national reckoning. The few times that people who went through the orphanages have sought justice, the courts have tended to be largely indifferent.
So the dark secrets, like the children who haunt survivors’ dreams, lay buried.
Read the article at BuzzFeed News.