SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A Nebraska tribe has received a more than $17,000 grant meant to help address elder abuse throughout its 15-county service area in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota.

The Ponca Tribe received the Elder Abuse Innovation Grant Award through the National Indigenous Elder Justice Initiative Innovation program, the Press & Dakotan reported .

Andrea Rodriguez, the tribe’s domestic violence program coordinator, said the grant allows the tribe to offer outreach and prevention work on elder abuse.

“We’ve been seeing an average of about six cases of elder abuse a year, most of it for financial exploitation,” she said.

Rodriguez said the tribe can also develop a section of the Ponca tribal code that’ll better serve indigenous elders.

She hopes the awareness and outreach effort helps the domestic violence program discover undetected or unserved cases because of a lack of resources.

The program’s services range from advocacy, transportation and legal action to counseling, medical care and other resources.

“We advise victims who are ready to leave, so they know the safe time to leave and what to take with them,” Rodriguez said. “Also, we advise them who to contact and who not to contact.”

Under the grant, program staff will make presentations at weekly congregate elder lunches, Circle of Elders monthly meetings and Northern Ponca Elders Council quarterly meetings.

“We are promoting our domestic violence program,” Rodriguez said. “We take this (problem) seriously.”


Information from: Yankton Press and Dakotan, http://www.yankton.net/

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