Press Statement by Mary Roda, Executive Director of the Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County, and Deborah DeBare, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, May 8, 2013
"Our hearts go out to the family, friends and community of Allison Taylor. Her tragic death, allegedly at the hands of her son, reminds us how far we have to go to achieve a society in Rhode Island that is free of violence in the home. While details are still unfolding, this tragedy appears to be a clear case of domestic elder abuse. Allison Taylor was 65, and we know that her son, Robert Taylor, 45, was living in the home with her; he has been charged with domestic murder for the killing of his mother and disposal of her body."
"Allison Taylor's death marks the fifth life lost to domestic violence in R.I. this year. Though we often think of domestic violence as acts that occur between dating or married partners, this tragedy must serve as a harsh reminder that family violence is also domestic violence, and too often our elders are the victims of abuse. Current research from the U.S. Department of Justice shows that one out of ten elders is victimized—in most cases, by a relative or personal acquaintance in a private residence (96 percent of elder abuse cases). And, that relative is often an adult child, grandchild or other family member of the victim. Family members who abuse drugs or alcohol, who have mental/emotional illness, or feel burdened by their caregiving responsibilities abuse at higher rates than those who do not1. Robert Taylor has a history of court-ordered substance abuse counseling. Though he has no recorded history of domestic violence, we know that it can still exist, especially because elders are not often in situations to report abuse."
"Family violence is much too common in our society, and no victim should suffer in silence. We must reach out to anyone who we suspect is in an abusive situation. (Elder abuse is any mistreatment or lack of appropriate action that results in harm to an elderly person, or puts him/her at risk of being harmed. This can include: physical abuse, neglect, abandonment/isolation, obstruction of services, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, emotional/verbal abuse and stalking.) To report suspected elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation (it is mandatory under R.I. law) in R.I., please call: 401-462-0555."
"Elder abuse is rising in R.I. and the U.S. as the elder population grows; fourteen percent of R.I.'s population is comprised of elders. In the U.S. as many as two million elders are abused each year, and possibly more. It is important to remember that domestic violence happens in every community and elder abuse incidents such as Allison Taylor's murder are part of a public health crisis. It is an epidemic, but each of us can help stop this senseless violence from happening: to prevent another tragedy, citizens and policymakers must make a commitment to say NO MORE and help end domestic violence; together we can end it."
"The RICADV's six local domestic violence agencies provide a wide array of services for victims (including elders suffering abuse) such as 24 hour hotline support, emergency shelter, support groups, counseling services, and assistance with the legal system. For more information about these organizations and services, call the statewide helpline at 800-494-8100. And if you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately."
1Schiamberg, L. & Gans, D. (1999). An ecological framework for contextual risk factors in elder abuse by adult children. Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect, 11(1), 79-103.