Sunday, June 16, 2024

Federal agencies mark ten years combating elder abuse

 By Legal Newsline

At a meeting of the Elder Justice Coordinating Council (EJCC) on Wednesday, June 12, 17 federal agencies, including the Justice Department and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), reflected on a decade of efforts to combat elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. These efforts have included enforcement actions, public education initiatives, training programs, interagency collaboration, research endeavors, and support services for older adults at risk.

“We know that the vast majority of elder abuse cases go unreported. And that too many victims remain unseen,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “That is why the Department of Justice has aggressively targeted perpetrators of elder fraud and abuse while providing victims with the support they need. In the last five years, the Department has pursued more than 1,500 criminal and civil cases involving conduct that targeted or disproportionately affected older adults. We have provided services to more than 1.5 million older victims. And we have returned hundreds of millions of dollars to elder fraud victims. The Elder Justice Coordinating Council has played a key role in our work.”

“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to supporting the health, well-being, and independence of older adults and to advancing equity for all Americans. Elder justice is a crucial element of both,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Today, we celebrate the progress we have made advancing elder justice. But we will not rest until every older person lives with dignity and without fear of abuse or neglect.”

Alison Barkoff from the Administration for Community Living added: “We know that it will take an all-of-government approach to make our shared vision of elder justice and community inclusion a reality, and in the last decade, the federal response to elder abuse has become more robust and coordinated.”

The EJCC was established by the 2010 Elder Justice Act to coordinate federal activities related to elder abuse across government agencies. Today’s meeting reviewed accomplishments since adopting Eight Recommendations for Increased Federal Involvement in Addressing Elder Abuse as common priorities guiding federal efforts.

Key achievements include:

- HHS’ Administration for Community Living awarded first-ever federal formula grants supporting state adult protective services (APS) programs.

- The Justice Department expanded efforts against transnational elder fraud schemes with over 1,500 cases pursued in five years.

- An annual Money Mule Initiative by multiple law enforcement agencies addressed over 14,000 money mules since 2020.

- Development of NAMRS by HHS’ Administration for Community Living standardized data collection on elder maltreatment nationwide.

- SSA’s Slam the Scam Day raised awareness about government imposter scams starting in 2020.

- The FTC established a Senior Scams Prevention Advisory Group focusing on consumer education and scam prevention.

Leaders from various departments spoke at today’s EJCC meeting alongside four pioneers in elder justice: Marie-Therese Connolly; Kathy Greenlee; Sidney Stahl; Edwin Walker.

By statute, EJCC is chaired by HHS Secretary with permanent membership from Attorney General's office. Since its creation under EJCC coordination responsibilities were assigned to Administration for Community Living expanding members from nine initially up-to-date seventeen bringing unique resources tackling complex issue maltreatment among elders which affects at least one-in-ten annually according research estimates higher due underreporting associated increased risks depression hospitalization institutionalization premature death deteriorated family relationships diminished autonomy resulting direct maltreatment impacts.

Full Article & Source:
Federal agencies mark ten years combating elder abuse

No comments: