ELDER VICTIM MINISTRY
Serving elders in a Christian Ministry
Elder Victim Ministry initiates contact with older victims from law enforcement crime reports. Social workers and trained volunteers work with over 800 victims a year, leading to over 5,000 victims who have been served by the program. Services vary depending on the crime, such as crisis counseling, assisting with reporting and prosecutions, walking a victim through a safety plan, repairing broken windows after a burglary, and replacing locks after an exploitative relative was evicted.
Building rapport is key to working with often self-reliant elders. Elder victims should know that they are not alone. Advocates offer researched, up to date information on recovery steps after an identity theft or scam, payee referrals, civil complaint resources and domestic violence safety practices. Volunteers make weekly wellbeing check calls and share safety tips to help victims avoid re-victimization. Spiritual advocacy is provided, including prayer and strengthening relationships with ones community of faith.
Special Program Initiatives
Are You OK? program volunteers phone vulnerable people isolated in the community to offer well-being checks, friendship, help with problems, safety tips, as well as prayer and Bible verses for those who request it.
After Thanksgiving holiday spending, Credit Check Wednesday encourages all consumers to check their credit reports for free at participating banks. This helps protect against fraud and identity theft.
Advocating for elders
In addition to providing victim services, Elder Victim Ministry advocates for change in the community as a member of the Elder Justice I-Teams of Allen and Putnam Counties. These interdisciplinary teams promote communication between organizations through the sharing of cases and collective advocacy on elder issues. As a members, we maintain:
Who Does What for Elder Victims: Lists organizations that serve elder victims of crime, and helps professionals screen for and respond to the red flags of elder abuse.
Legal Options Toolkit: A detailed reference on levels of legal protection for elders written as a tool for professionals and caregivers.
ELDER VICTIM MINISTRY VOLUNTEER STORIES
As an Are You Ok? call Volunteer, I offer a familiar voice and a listening ear to folks who need support. It seems like a small thing to call someone and ask “are you ok” but it helps with the victim's healing process and that is the rewarding part for me. The "thank you" at the end of the call is what makes volunteering so worthwhile.
Jeff Fuetter | Putnam County
I enjoy connecting with people as an Are You OK? Volunteer. A lot of people are lonely and need someone to talk to who are outside of their family. I’ve learned more about abuse of elders first hand in this volunteer role. This is a great program, checking on vulnerable people who need a regular connection and safety tips to stand up to scams.
Mildred Stewart | Allen County
Volunteering is my way of helping others. I’ve been doing that for thirty some years, here and Red Cross, and Sheriff’s Dept. It makes a person feel good, and involved in the community, which is very rewarding, without the feeling of being under pressure to be there every minute.
Larry Flick | Allen County
Offer a hand up to an elder recovering from a burglary. Lend an ear to an elder experiencing isolation. Guide an elder through the steps needed after identity theft. Volunteer opportunities include:
One-on-One Victim Assistance and Friendship
Prayer and Spiritual Support
Good Samaritan Financial Assistance
Church and Community Outreach