New non-profit organization tackling elder abuse in Birmingham
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – A new nonprofit is dedicated to tackling elder abuse in the Birmingham area.
Alabama is the first and only state to maintain an elder abuse registry. The governor signed Shirley’s Law just a few weeks ago.
With the creation of the new law, comes the new organization called See Something, Say Something.
“We want people to know – rather than saying, ‘There’s nothing you can do. You can’t fight the big guys at the top. Yes, you can if you come together because they’re organized at the top. top, we want to be organized a little lower,” said Edward Coke, chair of the See Something, Say Something committee.
The group was created at the end of March. Coke says they focus on the abuse of older people by senior officials because sometimes people with power abuse that power.
“They abuse older people with the judgments and decisions they make and run their legal cases,” Coke said. “It’s really an unspoken atrocity that’s going on.”
In March, Governor Kay Ivey signed the Elder Abuse Act, also known as Shirley’s Law, into law. It creates a registry for elder care agencies to check if someone has been convicted of elder abuse.
In a press release, the non-profit organization describes what elder abuse is: “It is taking money or resources from an older person. It’s pushing or shoving them. It’s leaving them unattended when they can’t take care of themselves. It is using the legal system or any entity to take advantage of the elderly (among others).
“I used to work in a nursing home where I saw with my own eyes that there were employees, especially nurses, who were stealing money from them, they were stealing goods that they had in their room, they treated old people with disrespect,” Vice President Keith Williams said.
Williams says elder abuse comes in many shapes and sizes, which is why the creation of See Something, Say Something is so important.
“We are the advocacy group that was formed to create a vacuum for those who are hurting and most vulnerable,” said Patricia Bell, director of communications.
The group wants them to come forward if they believe they have been victims of elder abuse.
“We know there are a lot of people who are scared,” Williams said. “They don’t know what to do. They believe they can’t fight the town hall. Call See something, say something. We will fight city hall for you and we will be your voice.
The organization says the public is invited to contact them through their Facebook page.
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