The Northampton Police Department is committed to the prevention, investigation and prosecution of elders abuse and persons with disabilities abuse. Every Officer has received training in elders abuse and persons with disabilities abuse response, recognition and investigation. Some of our Officers and Detectives have extensive training in this area. The majority of elders abuse cases and persons with disabilities abuse cases are handled by Detectives, who have a well-established relationship with the Elders and Persons with Disabilities Unit (EPDU) within the Northwestern District Attorney's Office.
Crimes Against Elders
As the elder population continues to grow, crimes against elders will continue to increase in numbers and complexity. The EPDU staff is trained and prepared to respond to the special needs of the elder population and to ensure equal access to the criminal justice system, focusing on the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed against persons who are sixty years of age or older including, but not limited to:
- Financial Exploitation
- Sexual Abuse
- Physical Abuse
- Caregiver Neglect
Crimes Against Persons with Disabilities
The EPDU is dedicated to assisting victims of abuse who have disabilities. The EPDU staff is trained and prepared to respond to the special needs of persons with disabilities to preserve the person's dignity and trust, as well as to ensure equal access to the criminal justice system, focusing on the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed against persons with mental illness, mental retardation and physical disabilities, including, but not limited to:
- Sexual Abuse
- Physical Abuse
- Caregiver Neglect
- Financial Fraud
Behavioral Indicators of Abuse & Neglect of Elders & Persons with Disabilities
- Exhibit distrust of others
- Exhibit emotional outbursts
- Obsess, worry or appear anxious about her/his own performance
- Have low self-esteem or confidence
- Have a sudden loss of appetite
- Criticize caretaker constantly
- Curse, hit, scratch caregiver
- Request separation from caregiver
- Exhibit fear of the caregiver
- Exhibit fear of the dark, being alone, people, places or going home
- Cry easily, frequently
- Express feelings of hopelessness
- Want to die
- Exhibit stress-related illness
- Exhibit self-injurious behaviors
- Have difficulty sleeping
- Be isolated from others
- Be emotionally withdrawn, detached
- Have startled response to movement
- Be incontinent, malodorous, unpleasant
- Be resistant to taking medication, being bathed, eating or allowing caregiver to provide care
- Abuse alcohol or other substances
- Have rapid physical deterioration
- Refuse offers of assistance
- Be fearful of intimacy and touch
- Be sexually promiscuous
- Exhibit aggressive, disruptive or delinquent behavior
- Learn passive aggressive behavior
Senior Outreach and Education - The TRIAD Program
As part of the EPDU, the TRIAD program plays a major part in linking community partnerships. TRIAD is a community policing initiative between seniors, law enforcement and service providers to increase safety through education and crime prevention. Its goals are:
- To reduce criminal activity which targets older Americans
- To alleviate seniors' fears of victimization, build confidence and improve the quality of life
- To enhance delivery of law enforcement services to older persons
TRIAD is implemented by a S.A.L.T. (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together) Council which may be composed of:
- Police, sheriff, and the district attorney
- Protective service personnel
For more information on TRIAD in this community, please see the TRIAD page under Community Services, here on our website. You may also call 413-586-9225 or visit the TRIAD page on the website of the Northwestern District Attorney at NorthwesternDA.org.
Financial exploitation of elders is the NUMBER ONE crime against elders prosecuted by the Northwestern District Attorney's Office.
SOME HELPFUL TIPS FOR ELDERS TO AVOID FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION
- Have Social Security or pension checks deposited automatically into bank accounts to prevent checks from being stolen from mailboxes.
- Store all valuables in a safe deposit box or a secured lock box in your home.
- Never withdraw money from a bank account for someone else, or allow someone to withdraw it for you unless it is a trusted member of your immediate family or friend.
- Beware of any get-rich-quick schemes, investment opportunities or anyone who comes to your door asking you to sign anything. Avoid registering for sweepstakes, free vacations.
- NEVER WIRE MONEY to individuals claiming to recover lost monies, for a lottery or for a loved one who is "in jail".
- NEVER GIVE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION OUT OVER THE PHONE!
If you believe these things have happened to you or that you are a victim of theft, report the incident to the Northampton Police Department at 587-1100.
OFFICE OF NORTHWESTERN DISTRICT ATTORNEY DAVID E. SULLIVAN
ELDERS AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES UNIT
One Gleason Plaza
Northampton, MA 413-586-9225
IMPORTANT REFERRAL NUMBERS
- Disabled Person Protection Commission Hotline (800)426-9009 - 24 hours a day/7 days a week (24/7) (V/TTY)
- Elder Abuse Hotline (800)922-2275 - 24 hours a day/7 days a week (24/7)
- Highland Valley Elder Services (413)586-2000 Hours: 9-5; Serves Hampshire County cities and towns except Belchertown, Granby, South Hadley and Ware
- Franklin County Home Care (413)773-5555 Hours: 9-5; Serves all of Franklin County and the town of Athol
- Greater Springfield Senior Services (413)781-8800 Hours: 9-5; Serves Belchertown, Granby, South Hadley and Ware
- Northwestern District Attorney's Elder and Persons with Disabilities Unit (413)586-9225 Hours:8-5; (413)586-9382 TTY