Judge Gary Flower, Senator Audrey Gibson and Eileen Rodden of Women’s Center of Jacksonville Honored at A Night with the Stars

For the past eight years, the Delores Barr Weaver Elder Advocate Award has been presented to individuals who have shown a passionate spirit of devotion and advocacy to serve seniors in the community. This year’s Delores Barr Weaver Elder Advocate Award Winners are a superb team of advocates for our seniors. It was our pleasure to  honor Judge Gary Flower, Senator Audrey Gibson and Eileen Rodden with the Women’s Center of Jacksonville.

We honored them for their joint efforts in bringing education and awareness of elder abuse to the Northeast Florida Community through an Elder Abuse Summit and legislation to help prevent future fatalities.

A few years ago, Judge Flower received training on elder abuse from the National Judicial Institute. He was so moved he was determined to ensure that the Elder Abuse Training was made available to other judicial officers and law enforcement representatives within the Northeast Florida area. He envisioned an Elder Abuse Summit where all of the stakeholders could meet to discuss resources, and establish study circles to continue the education and awareness he encountered.

He worked with Eileen Rodden from the Women’s Center of Jacksonville to create the Summit where attendees left with a new sense of purpose and dedication to protect some of our most vulnerable citizens.

Judge Flower also helped spearhead the receipt of a grant that created The Abuse in Later of Life Project in which the Women’s Center of Jacksonville was the only grantee in the State of Florida. With the grant, The Abuse in Later Life project has provided time and funding for strategic planning and direct service including the development of Coordinated Community Response to Elder Abuse program. It has contributed to uncovering some policy and protocol issues which in turn, have led project partners to adjust their procedures to better capture elder abuse cases and promote successful prosecution.

Eileen Rodden facilitates the Coordinated Community Response (CCR) on Elder Abuse for Duval, Baker and Nassau counties. As a result of this concerted effort, over 100 law enforcement and 40 victim service and affiliated service providers have been trained. She is an elder abuse trainer along with the State Attorney’s Office for the 4th Judicial Circuit representative, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office representative, an Elder Source planner and the lead education specialist at Hubbard House under the same program.

Senator Gibson attended one of the first meetings of the Coordinated Community Response to Elder Abuse meetings and was inspired to take this important initiative to the next level – crafting legislation to pass a bill for the Elder Abuse Fatality Review Teams. These teams would be made up of various organizations to include the Area Agency on Aging, Department of Children and Families, various arms of law enforcement and other advocates. These teams would focus on looking at the system and where it may have failed and make recommendations where improvements could be made in an effort to prevent future fatalities.

Thank you again to each of our awardees for the dedication and passion they have to serve our seniors.

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