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Elder domestic violence focus of annual conference

Domestic Violence Gets Old conference raises awareness of elderly crimes

SAN ANTONIO – About 45 people who work with victims of elder abuse gathered Friday at St. Anthony de Padua Catholic Church for the annual Domestic Violence Gets Old conference.

The annual symposium organized by The Task Force Against Elder Domestic Violence aims to raise awareness of the abuse elderly people suffer from their partners.

The elderly are subject to physical, financial, sexual abuse and neglect, officials said.

Organizers said because crimes are underreported, there are few crime statistics regarding people over 60 years old.

"It's a problem that's not going away. It's a problem that people are ashamed of, and it's a big secret," said Yvonne Lozano, of the Task Force Against Elder Domestic Violence. "If it continues, we're going to see more and more instances of not only the violence, but even death of older adults."

The mother of keynote speaker Jim Pulley mother was shot and killed in 1995 by his stepfather.

Pulley, author of the book, "Love, Loneliness, Abuse and Murder," said after the fatal shooting, his family discovered a long history of abuse that his mother documented in a planner.

"They need to know that they are not alone, there are people who want to help who care and there are ways out. There are, as I said before, there are resources," Pulley said.

Conference attendees said they plan to apply what they learned about elder domestic violence to the community groups they represent.