Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Vulnerable Adult Protective Investigative Team responds to elder abuse

One of the more baffling trends in Tennessee is the rise in incidents of elder abuse, but there is one thing that’s certain: Prosecution of the perpetrators must be swift and unfailing.

Whether the abuse is financial or physical, taking advantage of those experiencing the vulnerability brought on by age is, like child abuse, an unpardonable crime.

It is often thought of as an institutional issue, but largely occurs in the victims’ own homes, and the abusers are often family members.

The formation of a special investigative team at the Shelby County district attorney’s office to investigate abuse of the elderly and disabled is an appropriate response to the actions of those who attack the elderly physically, financially or sexually, often preying on their fragile emotional or mental state.

The Vulnerable Adult Protective Investigative Team, formed by District Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich, will satisfy state legislation passed this year that requires all state district attorneys to establish an elder abuse response team in their district effective Jan. 1.

And it will address a crime that has increased in frequency as the Baby Boom generation reaches a vulnerable stage of life.

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, in a Viewpoint guest column published in July, reported a rise of almost 20 percent in simple assaults against older adults statewide from 2009 to 2013 and an increase the number of reported cases of fraud against older individuals of 21 percent over the same period.

The Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability has estimated that only one in 23 cases of elder abuse is reported, attributing the silence to the fact that the victim often lives with someone who controls his or her access to the outside world, finances, meals, medication and everything else.

Representatives of the DA's office, local law enforcement, the state Department of Human Services and the Coordinated Response to Elder Abuse, or CREA, which includes the Aging Commission of the Mid-South, Memphis Area Legal Services and numerous other agencies, are on board  in this battle.

Solidly behind the initiative is the Plough Foundation, which conducted a two-year study of the issue, found that there was no single organization with the capacity or resources to lead the charge against elder abuse, and supported the creation of CREA with a $3.45 million grant.

The foundation is also providing funds to support the prosecutor's new elder abuse team, consistent with its leadership in the effort to facilitate independent living for the elderly.

The foundation has leveraged a $4 million grant into a $6 million Aging in Place program over the past two years, working with partners Service Over Self and MLGW.

People who suspect elder abuse can report it to adult protective services at 1-888-277-8366 or the Memphis and Shelby County Family Safety Center at 901-222-4400.

These new programs should encourage more reporting of elder abuse so that more abusers can be held accountable for this largely invisible crime.

Full Article & Source:
Vulnerable Adult Protective Investigative Team responds to elder abuse


Terri said...

This is good but I wonder how they are treating conservatorship abuse cases.

Anonymous said...

This is being implemented in other states. It does not change anything for the actual abuse being done under court appointed Guardians. The abusive ISOLATION and the alienating of families by abusive Guardians that are liers and exploit. These laws already exists, to investigate abuse. It is just defined for elderly. Protective Elderly Services are hesitant to investigate when court appointed Guardians exist.

Our frail and Elderly need concrete action to stop abusive ISOLATION by anyone. ISOLATION is abusive and it is cruelty and it is the worse unimaginable torment done to humanity.
We need laws, Legislators need to implement legislation to STOP abusive abusive ISOLATION. Most families don't have the financial means to get attorney to plead family and probate court to provide relief so loved ones can see their mother or farher etc. It should not be a freaking nightmare, total chaos in court by more appointed incompetent ad litem attorney..on and on.