Elder Abuse Advocacy

August 27, 2020

From the desk of Pete Ansara, CEO

I want to tell you a story about a client who needed our help. We help many people, but this individual needed a very specific kind of help.

Call our hotline: 253.389.1872

We received a call from the Consulate General of South Korea this past February, 2020. They called on a woman who needed our assistance. We’ll call her Sara to keep her identity anonymous.  She called our elder abuse hotline (253.389.1872), and told us her story and asked us for help. We were her last resort. She informed us that her husband was attacked and severely injured. His whole body was impacted, with significant face and brain damage. The stranger attacked him right outside his home and was later arrested. No one knows why Sara’s husband got attacked.

Sara came to us for help, curious, and desperate for any assistance we could provide for her family. We conducted intake and assessed her needs, and proceeded to connect her with KWA’s Social Services department to help her enroll her for Benefits and Basic Needs, such as food stamps, SSI, crime victim compensation, long-term care services and more. We also assisted her with an application for public housing.

Also, she suffered from a stroke some time ago and her husband was her only caregiver at that time. Given his own hospitalization, there was a significant reduction in income because of his injuries and Sara needed care right away. We assisted her in applying for the Korean emergency fund through the Consulate General of South Korea.  

Unfortunately, Sara’s husband passed away just weeks ago. As with any loss of life, there are considerable costs associated with funeral arrangements in addition to mental and emotional costs. 

We reached out to her to help her apply for funds that would cover funeral costs and unlock pension benefits to which she is entitled. Throughout this whole process, a relationship was formed. We’ve been able to provide stability, peace of mind, and compassion during a turbulent time.

Many elders who are in a traumatic situation, whether they’re the victim or not, are often unaware of what services maybe available to them. For example, she was unaware that she could apply for victim compensation benefits on behalf of her husband.

KWA provided her knowledge and assistance simply by listening to her story and connecting her to the services she needed. Educating her on what was available, we were able to her apply for victim compensation benefits, help pay for medical costs, provide on-going emotional support for Sara, and help with the DSHS benefits application for her.

Elder abuse often goes unseen and unreported, but we are here to support and advocate for victims and their families. We serve victims and their families who are 55 or over, no income is required and services can be in English, Korean or Vietnamese.

If you know someone that needs help similar to Sara, we can help with:

  • Confidential and culturally sensitive victim services;
  • Referrals to other agencies;
  • Obtain protection orders;
  • File police reports;
  • Referrals for immigration services;
  • Enroll in crime victim compensation programs;
  • Court support for hearings and preparation;
  • Referrals to pro-bono attorneys; and
  • Discuss options and services for each victims’ circumstances.

Help line – 253.389.1872 M-F, 8:30 AM-5:00 PM for Voicemail and text after hours.

Call us if you are, or someone you know is, the victim of elder abuse. We can help! We will help!

Pete Ansara