Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Stark County Event to Raise Awareness About Elder Abuse

Stark County counselors, social workers, and attorneys will attend a three-hour seminar on June 14 to learn about and to recognize problems facing the elderly and disabled.

The third annual “Justice for All” seminar coincides with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Stark County Probate Judge Dixie Park, the Stark County Multi Disciplinary Advocacy/Protective Resources Team (SMART), and the Stark County Bar Association serve as hosts.

This year’s seminar – “The Gray Zone of Incompetency and Incapacity” – will feature presenter Maria R. Schimer, associate professor of family & community medicine and general counsel at Northeast Ohio Medical University.

Park said the idea for the seminars grew out of her involvement at the Supreme Court with the Subcommittee on Adult Guardianship of the Advisory Committee on Children, Families, & the Courts and the formation of the SMART group locally.

“We have a mandate as judges to take a leadership role,” Park said. “When judges make an invitation, people respond.”

She said about 150 people attended the first Stark County seminar, 180 last year, and she hopes that 200 or more attend this year.

Park said Stark County has seen an increase in emergency protective orders where Adult Protective Services steps in for cases of abuse and neglect. She said eventually the county hopes to form a task force to investigate elder abuse, follow up on cases, and provide analysis.

With estimates that only one in five or one in six cases of elder abuse and neglect are reported, Park said events like this serve the purpose of raising awareness so the problem does not remain underreported.

The seminar is free to the general public, and representatives from various service providers in the community will be available for questions at the informational booths.

To register for the event, e-mail by June 7.