The Elder Domestic Violence Shelter Network of Erie County (EDVSN)

In Erie County last week there were two victims of domestic violence; neither were women, and both were over 60. On July 6th, 89 year old Norman Eson of North Tonawanda was found dead in his home; his 83 year old wife was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. A day later, July 7th, 70-year old John Keenan was found dead in his Orchard Park home; his 21 year old son has been arrested and charged with his murder. Those unfortunate cases serve to remind our community that Elder Abuse exists, is widespread, and can be deadly.

Elder Abuse does not discriminate between gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, or geographic location. And while no one should live in fear of domestic violence, victims of elder abuse are often dependent on their abusers to meet the care needs associated with aging. This makes leaving an abusive situation especially difficult; traditional domestic violence shelters cannot accommodate the specific medical needs that accompany so many victims of elder abuse. Providing a shelter for these victims in need was the impetus behind the Elder Domestic Violence Shelter Network of Erie County. The EDVSN is a collaboration between local nursing facilities and service providers to temporarily shelter victims of domestic violence in later life.  The EDVSN was launched on June 13th, 2014.  The goal of the shelter network is to provide a safe place for victims so they can receive appropriate medical care and the resources necessary to achieve a life free from domestic violence. Eligibility requirements include:

– Applicant must be 60 years of age or older

– Applicant is not able to live independently

– Applicant must be the victim of domestic or family violence

– Applicant must not be eligible for traditional shelter

– Applicant cannot self-refer

If you know someone who is being abused, seek help. LSED has a staff attorney dedicated full-time to elder abuse issues; to reach us call (716) 853-3087. You can also reach out to Protective Services for Adults at (716) 858-6877 or Crisis Services (716) 834-3131. If it is an emergency, call 911. For more information and for applications to the EDVSN, please visit

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