William Mitchell Elder Justice & Policy Scholars have developed a mobile app designed to provide support and guidance to first responders when addressing cases of elder abuse and financial exploitation.
MN S.A.F.E Elders includes a video featuring the stories of Minnesota seniors who have been abused or exploited, a website, and the mobile app created by the Mitchell students to help law enforcement identify potential abuse.
The app helps first responders easily access tools to recognize signs of abuse, provide strategies for interviewing people who may have been abused, and make available background information on laws protecting vulnerable adults in Minnesota.
The Mitchell students got involved in MN S.A.F.E. Elders after Desiree Toldt, 2L, received an Elder Justice & Policy keystone placement with the Anoka County Attorney’s Office. The keystone program places students with organizations that work to stop elder abuse. The students then research issues of significant state or national interest and investigate the use of technology in the practice of elder law and elder advocacy.
One of the goals of the keystone program is to help students learn how to create and maintain practical technology tools such as websites and e-newsletters to advocate for vulnerable adult protection in Minnesota.
While working with Anoka County, Toldt became involved in the MN S.A.F.E. Elders initiative and began working on the mobile app, called “S.A.F.E. MN.”
Ultimately, an Assistant Anoka County Attorney, State Rep. Debra Hilstrom ’10, and the “Minnesota S.A.F.E. Elders” working group got involved. With the assistance of fellow William Mitchell student Christopher Ziolkowski, other keystone students took on the task of research, development, and creation of the mobile app early in the semester.
Ziolkowski wrote the mobile app code and created the structure to allow for continuous updates and editing by students. The students worked hard to ensure that information was not only easily accessible but could also be updated easily, allowing for a non-computer programmer to upload new information.
The S.A.F.E. MN app will be available to the public for free download through both the Android App Store and the Apple App Store. The App is set to debut June 14, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, in conjunction with the other items in the Minnesota S.A.F.E. Elders Toolkit.