Retired London police Inspector Brian Young presents the award that bares his name to Detective Amanda Pfeffer, June 14, 2019. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

Detective recognized for work to stop elder abuse

A London police detective has been singled out for her work protecting area seniors and increasing elder abuse awareness within the community.

Amanda Pfeffer, a member of the police financial crimes unit and 17 year veteran of the force, was awarded the Brian Young Award by the Elder Abuse London Middlesex Committee at a special ceremony on Friday.

Through her work with the London Police service and as a member of the Elder Abuse London Middlesex Network and the Law Enforcement Agencies Protecting Seniors Network, Pfeffer investigates allegations of potential elder abuse and frequently helps local seniors get the required assistance.

“This is an incredible honour for me to receive this award,” said a very humbled Pfeffer. “As honoured as I am it would be improper of me not to mention my investigative team who does the same work that I do and, of course, this committee who does incredible work within the community to ensure that elder abuse awareness is increased and no one is left isolated.”

The award is given annually to an individual or group that has supported a collaborative community-based approach to ending elder abuse, engages in proactive strategies, works to remove barriers faced by older adults, and increases elder abuse awareness. It is named in honour of retired police Inspector Brian Young, who helped establish a seniors helpline in the London region and founded a community-based and senior-driven community response network to assist abused and neglected seniors.

“Amanda has been incredibly helpful in assisting with financial fraud situations involving the elderly and has been very supportive in finding ways to stop elder abuse from occurring,” said Chair of the Elder Abuse London Middlesex Committee Patrick Fleming. “Amanda has always made herself available to assist the network.”

Pfeffer is the 11th recipient of the award since its creation in 2009.

The award ceremony was held one day prior to World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which highlights the need for everyone to take responsibility in preventing elder abuse.

According to Pfeffer, elders are being abused far more than people realize and the abuse often goes unreported due to embarrassment or because the abuser is a family member or friend.

“We get cases nearly every day and it was shocking to me to see this,” said Pfeffer. “Not every case results in a criminal investigation. Often times it is just a collaboration, working with community members to ensure that a person in need gets their needs fulfilled. You would be surprised how many of these investigations come through where an elder has been victimized because of their vulnerability .”

Pfeffer advises anyone who suspects a senior is being victimized or abused to reach out to police.

“Elders worked their entire lives to live comfortably in their retirement and to see those retirement funds totally dissipate or gone completely by the time that we get involved is heart-wrenching,” said Pfeffer. “Know the people who are living alone or living with very little access to resources in your neighbourhood. Knock on their door, say ‘hello’, offer your support, but pay attention. If you feel like something may be off it never hurts to just place a call and we can have a conversation about it to make sure that person is indeed safe.”