Domestic Abuse Of The Eldery Is Not Uncommon

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A 58-year old Reno woman is facing charges for physically abusing her 88-year old mother.

While this case might seems extreme, authorities tell us it's becoming all to common nationwide.

In Reno alone there are several dozen elderly abuse cases every year, and investigators say many go unreported.

"We have a growing number of domestic violence cases that comprise 20 percent of our total workload," says Deputy District Attorney Katherine Berning.

Investigators from Reno's Senior Abuse Unit say elderly abuse has increased in the past few years. Says investigator Jerome Tushbant:
"The senior population and senior violence is on the rise nationwide."

Jeannie Smith from Sparks is shocked by the news. She has been taking care of her mother in-law for the past six months. "We chose to have our mother in law live with us because we don't want that type of abuse going on," she says.

And no one knows the real reason why.

Some say the abuse could be linked to alcohol or drug addiction . . . while others believe it's a control issue.

No matter the reason, investigators say they will continue to prosecute the abusers until justice is served.

"Our ultimate goal is to make Reno a safer place for seniors, " Berning says.

The Reno City Attorney's office is offering seniors another type of protection . . . free cellphones. The phones can only dial 911.
But in an emergency, it can get seniors the help they need.

If you'd like to find out more about the cell phone program, call Reno's Domestic Violence Unit at 334-6290.