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District Attorney Chesa Boudin Launches Campaign to Combat Elder Abuse

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Sara Yousuf / Sara.Yousuf@sfgov.org

Deputy Director of Communications / Assistant District Attorney

SAN FRANCISCO—Today, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin launched a public service announcement campaign to combat violence or harassment against elderly community members. This campaign urges victims, witnesses, and other community members to come forward to report all forms of elder abuse, including financial abuse, racially targeted attacks, and elder neglect. The public service announcement is scheduled to run on transit shelters in Chinatown, the Sunset District, the Mission, and Bayview-Hunters Point in English, Chinese, and Spanish.

We are committed to doing everything we can to keep our most vulnerable, elderly residents safe—and part of that is making sure they know what to do when a crime occurs. We do not tolerate elder abuse in San Francisco, and I urge anyone aware of any crimes against the elderly to come forward,” said District Attorney Chesa Boudin. “This campaign is an important tool to combat these crimes by increasing awareness and by ensuring we can hold those who commit them accountable.”

Several recent, high-profile incidents of elder abuse have raised concerns that elder abuse incidents may be under-unreported. Incidents of elder abuse are often caught on cellphone camera and then posted online, but are often not reported to police.

This campaign also aims to correct the common misconception that video evidence is required for the prosecution of elder abuse cases. The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office will review all reports of elder abuse for prosecution, regardless of whether the incident was recorded or witnessed by someone other than the victim.

“It breaks my heart each time I learn that an elderly person is being abused, whether it is by a stranger, a family member, or a caregiver,” said Anni Chung, President and CEO of Self-Help for the Elderly. “As a senior service organization, we commend the education, outreach, and intervention efforts spearheaded by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

“Seniors are often reluctant to share their stories of physical, financial, or other abuse because of language barriers, embarrassment, stigma about interacting with law enforcement, or the feeling that reaching out for help is a sign of weakness,” said Melissa McNair, Elder Abuse Victim Services Advocate for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. “We want people to know that they will be supported if they reach out and that by reporting, they can help to keep others safe.”

The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office’s Victim Services Division supports victims by connecting them with medical services, therapy, and victims’ compensation as well as by accompanying them to court hearings and providing case updates. SFDA Victim Advocates serve victims in eleven different languages, including Spanish, Cantonese, and American Sign Language.

Those who have witnessed, or experienced elder abuse can call the San Francisco District Attorney’s Victim Services Division at (628) 652-4100.

Samples of the public service announcement are below.