By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. a New Jersey Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation Attorney
These questions were presented during a seminar in New Jersey presented on elder abuse and financial exploitation and were answered by the panelists and audience.
Question? How important is it to have actual victims tell their own stories (about elder abuse), and what have been your experiences in finding individuals willing to talk?
Answer – It’s very important to have actual victims tell their own stories. However, that may not always be possible so I would suggest having a strategy for 1) cases in which victims can tell their own stories and 2) cases in which you rely on family members or others to communicate the facts and background of their case.
It is important to have actual victims tell their stories though sometimes court records – if there are any-and others who know the victims well can provide much of the information. Obviously, if a victim suffers from cognitive impairment, I would not do an in-depth interview with him or her because that would be unethical. But I’d want to meet him or her anyway so I could get a better feeling for the subject I’m communicating about. In one case, the lawyer’s case went with the guardian to the assisted living facility where she lived. The two New Jersey women in their 90s were ripped off. They didn’t talk about the rip-off, just about who they were. Friends and relatives can provide crucial information.
I’ve found some victims are willing to talk, such as, an elderly woman who was almost killed by her niece in a bleach attack-but others don’t want the publicity. Sometimes they are ashamed at being victimized; others don’t want to get a family member in trouble if a relative is the perpetrator.
Contact me personally today to discuss your elder abuse and/or financial exploitation matter. I am easy to talk to, very approachable and can offer you practical, legal ways to handle your concerns. You can reach me toll free at (855) 376-5291 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.