Arizona Attorney General

Mark Brnovich

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What Services Can Help The Abusers?

Caregiver stress is a significant risk factor for abuse and neglect. When caregivers attempt to meet the demands of daily care for an older adult, they can experience frustration and anger that can lead to abusive behavior.

While there is never any excuse for elder abuse, caregivers often feel trapped and hopeless. Some situations can be resolved by providing services to the abuser. The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that abusers who are dependent on their victims for money, or a place to live, may benefit from job training or placement, financial assistance, counseling in independent living, or mental health or substance abuse treatment. While it is difficult to convince some abusers to accept treatment voluntarily, particularly mental health, domestic violence, or substance abuse treatment, these services are often mandated by courts or offered as conditions of probation or as alternatives to prosecution.

The Men’s Anti-Violence Network (MAN) is a group of role models from all sectors of the business world. MAN uses education, community awareness and community involvement to reinforce that men also believe violence against women is unacceptable. MAN is an initiative of the Arizona Foundation for Women.

The Arizona Department of Health Services licenses batterer intervention programs and offender treatment services. Licensure rules and names of batterer intervention programs and offender services are available on the Department’s website.

Many studies show there is a clear connection between animal abuse and family violence. Be aware of the signs of animal cruelty and take all forms of abuse seriously. Report animal abuse to the Sheriff’s Office. The Arizona Human Society’s Project Safe House offers temporary housing for animals in family violence and abuse situations.

Determining what interventions are appropriate in neglect cases depends on many factors, including the caregiver’s willingness to improve care, the family’s resources, and the willingness of the elder to accept help.

Caregivers who are willing and able to improve the care they provide can be assisted by support services. A caregiver whose motive for providing care is self-interest may need to be replaced by a responsible person. Mental health services may also be needed, particularly in self-neglect cases.

Support groups for caregivers can help teach how to meet an older adult’s needs and handle difficult behaviors and situations. Support groups can also help relieve some of the tension and stress that gives rise to abuse and neglect.

Respite programs can also help by giving caregivers a break. Respite care may involve transporting the older adult to a day care center for a few hours or having a volunteer go to the home to provide a few hours of relief to the caregiver.