SF District Attorney Launches Campaign to Increase Reporting of Elder Abuse

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Chesa Boudin at Manny’s in San Francisco

By S. Priana Aquino

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin has announced a campaign to protect elders and prevent instances of elder abuse in San Francisco, urging witnesses and community members to report all forms of elder abuse, including financial abuse, racially targeted attacks and elder neglect.

The public service announcement is scheduled to run on transit shelters throughout the city in English, Chinese, and Spanish to further encourage people to watch for instances of elder abuse, either out on the street or elsewhere in our communities.

Melissa McNair, Elder Abuse Victim Services Advocate for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, said that “seniors are often reluctant to share their stories of physical, financial, or other abuse because of language barriers, embarrassment, stigma about interacting with law enforcement, or the feeling that reaching out for help is a sign of weakness.”

The increase of elder abuse incidents that are caught on video has raised concern that these attacks are under-reported. Though these videos are posted online, it is not often incidents are reported to police.

In a recent press release by the DA’s office, it writes that this campaign serves to correct the common misconception that video evidence is required for the prosecution of elder abuse cases.

The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office said it will review all reports of elder abuse for prosecution, regardless of whether the incident was recorded or witnessed by someone other than the victim.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to keep our most vulnerable, elderly residents safe—and part of that is making sure they know what to do when a crime occurs. We do not tolerate elder abuse in San Francisco, and I urge anyone aware of any crimes against the elderly to come forward,” said District Attorney Chesa Boudin.

“This campaign is an important tool to combat these crimes by increasing awareness and by ensuring we can hold those who commit them accountable,” he added.

The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office’s Victim Services Division supports victims by connecting them with services and victims’ compensation, accompany victims to court hearings and provide case updates.

“It breaks my heart each time I learn that an elderly person is being abused, whether it is by a stranger, a family member, or a caregiver,” said Anni Chung, President and CEO of Self-Help for the Elderly.

“As a senior service organization, we commend the education, outreach, and intervention efforts spearheaded by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office,” Chung added.

Those who have witnessed, or experienced elder abuse can call the San Francisco District Attorney’s Victim Services Division at (628) 652-4100.

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About The Author

S. Priana Aquino is a rising Senior at the University of San Francisco, majoring in Business with minors in Legal Studies and Public Service & Community Engagement. Upon graduation, she hopes to attend law school and continue her work in uplifting and advocating for communities of color.

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