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Domestic Violence
and Divorce in Later Years

One out of four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. For many reasons, victims of domestic violence in the elder population may feel there are more barriers to leaving the abuser and living independently.

This issue of The Alert provides information on some of the financial and health care resources people have while going through a "grey" divorce. It is important that victims of domestic violence know what resources are available to them.

Here is a list of some of the resources in the five counties the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland serves.

Domestic violence shelters provide different services, though they all will provide a safe place to stay in a supportive environment. Some shelters have support groups, counseling, referrals to community resources, clothing, and financial services. In order to learn what services the domestic violence shelter in your county offers, you can reach them at the following numbers:

Ashtabula County- Homesafe- 1.800.952.2873;

Cuyahoga County- Domestic Violence Center- 216.391.4357;

Geauga County- WomanSafe- 1.888.285.5665;

Lake County - Forbes House - 440.357.1018;

Lorain County - Genesis House - 440.244.1853.

In any county, you can also contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.799.SAFE(7233) for assistance.

The Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging (WRAAA) serves the Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Lorain areas. Their mission is to empower and support older adults to maintain wellness, independence and dignity. They offer many different programs, referrals and in-home help.

Their services include, among others, transportation, meal delivery and help with household chores. WRAAA can be reached at 1-800-626-7277.

The sister program of WRAAA in Ashtabula County is the Area Agency on Aging. You can reach them at 1.800.686.7367.

Additionally, each county has its own County Office on Aging which can provide socialization and support services, help obtaining medications and transportation, along with numerous other services.

Ashtabula County- Council on Aging- 440.998.6750;

Cuyahoga County- Department of Senior and Adult Services- 216.420.6750;

Geauga County- Department on Aging- 440.279.2130;

Lake County- Council on Aging- 440.205.8111;

Lorain County- Office on Aging- 440.326.4800.

When in doubt about where to call, start with United Way's First Call for Help at 2-1-1. 2-1-1 is a toll free number and provides information and referrals to other social service agencies in the caller's county.

If you are a low-income senior and would like assistance in filing for a civil protection order or a divorce, you can contact The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland at 1.888.817.3777.

This article was written by Jennifer Becker, Esq., a staff attorney in Legal Aid's Eastern County offices who handles family and housing cases. It is reprinted with permission from The Alert, a publication of The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.

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