Dr. Maha Younes
Department of Criminal Justice and Social Work, 308.865.8741

“Shattering the Silence on Elder Abuse” is the focus of a conference being sponsored by the Department of Social Work at the University of Nebraska at Kearney on Wednesday, Nov. 7.

The second annual Conference on Aging will take place in the UNK Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room. Conference registration will begin at 12:15 p.m.

“Elder abuse is common throughout the community and state, yet mostly unrecognized, unreported, and underreported,” said Dr. Maha Younes, professor and chair of the UNK social work department.

“Their victimization remains hidden as their abusers tend to be family members and caretakers whom they depend on for care and company,” she said. “We are trained to protect children from abuse, but most community members remain oblivious to the plight of vulnerable elders who are at risk because of their dependency.”

Individual registration is $50, and up to four credits of Continuing Education credit can be earned if noted in the registration. The conference is free to UNK students and faculty, and for seniors ages 60 years and above. For additional registration information, call 308.865.8739 or email exstromsr@unk.edu.

The first session, “Understanding and Responding to Elder Abuse,” will begin at 12:30 p.m. and will be presented by Michelle Zinke, training and resource coordinator of the Nebraska Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Coalition. Zinke has worked in domestic violence and sexual assault agencies for 17 years.

“Financial Exploitation of Seniors” will be presented at 1:45 p.m. by Ryan Sothan, consumer outreach coordinator for the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office. Sothan has statewide responsibility for developing and implementing community-based initiatives for educating and protecting Nebraskans from consumer fraud and deceptive trade practices.

At 3 p.m., Julie Hippen, program specialist for Adult Protective Services with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS), will present, “Understanding Reporting Laws.” Hippen has served as program specialist for the NDHHS Division of Children and Family Service for the last four years. She is responsible for developing program policy, training and quality improvement projects.

The final presentation, “Coordinated Service Providers Response Panel,” will include Trenton Waite, NDHHS Adult Protective Services in Grand Island; Rod Horsley, director of the South Central Nebraska Area Agency on Aging (SCNAAA); and Nikki Gausmann executive director of the Safe Center in Kearney.