Guam – A study has shown that in 2 years there will be 32,000 senior citizens on island, and in order to get ahead of the curve the Judiciary of Guam is enhancing their skills in dealing with elderly abuse.
The cultural influences on Guam have built a foundation of respect towards elders, but it does not mean that elderly abuse does not happen on Guam.
“The judicial council is exploring the issue its brand new because of the way families deal with elders historically here but what we know from the mainland is its a hidden problem,” shared Honarable Judge Karen Howez.
In many cases the elderly or Manamko as we call them on island are isolated with interaction limited to that of familia and therefore instances of reporting elderly abuse may not happen as often but when they do Judge Karen Howze says the workshop has provided the Judges with additional skills to address such instances.
“Land lord tenant case but it involves an elderly person who may be evicted. The judge that comes to this will be able to ask additional questions and not just assuming. Now this is not necessarily somebody taking advantage of the person but it heightens the judge’s skill level to dig a little bit deeper into where this person is and what the remedies might be,” stated Howez
The workshop also focuses on the laws aimed at protecting the rights of our Manamko.
“Many of the islands that are represented here don’t have guardianship laws, they may not even have domestic violence laws. Part of what happens is some of the judges will go back and start talking in their communities about how do we get this moving so that we have the ability to make sure that people that are abused get a fair shake,” Howze said.
The 2018 Enhancing Judicial Skill in Elder Abuse cases for Judges and Lawyers ultimately boils down to holding the abusers accountable so that in the end all the pieces working together leads a better response to the reality of elderly abuse.