Indiana Legal Services Inc. has been awarded a two-year grant to help abused senior citizens across the state recover from or reduce the negative impact of abuse.
The $400,000 from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute will fund the Legal Assistance for Victimized Adults project at ILS. The initiative is expected to serve 400 seniors, 60 years of age or older, with a variety of civil legal matters including avoiding eviction because of financial exploitation; repairing credit; seeking a protective order and changing power of attorney.
Funding for this grant was made available through the federal Victims of Crime Act and will continue through Sept. 30, 2018.
“As Indiana’s senior population continues to grow, unfortunately, so has the incidence of abuse,” said ILS Executive Director Jon Laramore. “Additional safeguards are needed to protect our seniors from long-lasting harm, particularly those made more vulnerable by illness or a small fixed income.”
Two attorneys and a paralegal have been assigned to the project and will work closely with Indiana Adult Protective Services. Dennis Frick, director of ILS’s senior law project in Indianapolis and former chair of the elder law section of the Indiana State Bar Association, will supervise the initiative.
“Too frequently, we hear stories where unsuspecting seniors are left neglected or taken advantage of financially by a caregiver or even a family member,” Frick said. “The abuser may be caught and punished but the senior may still lose their housing or have their credit record wrecked. The LAVA project seeks to neutralize their loss and roll it back whenever possible.”