Justice Department Zooms in on Elder Financial Abuse

Financial exploitation of the elderly is a nearly $3 billion business annually, depleting the resources of many, including businesses and the Medicare and Medicaid programs. In hopes of curbing this fraud, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) launched the Elder Justice website this week.

“The launch of the Elder Justice website today marks another milestone in reaching our shared goal of keeping older Americans safe from abuse and neglect,” said Associate Attorney General Tony West at an outreach event Monday. “The more we embrace our elders with respect and care, the stronger our society will be. This tool helps move us closer to that goal.”

The Elder Justice website will serve as a resource for elder abuse prosecutors, researchers, practitioners, and victims of elder abuse and their families. It will also serve as a forum for law enforcement and elder justice policy communities to share information and enhance public awareness about elder abuse.

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Nearly one in every 10 people over age 60 experience abuse and neglect, the DOJ notes, saying that protecting older Americans is one of the its top priorities.

Elder abuse — including physical, sexual and emotional abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, consumer scams and health care fraud — depletes the resources of individuals, families, businesses and public programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, by billions of dollars each year, which in turn places “enormous burdens” on the health care, financial and judicial systems, the DOJ says.

“The website provides resources and a means for improved communication among prosecutors, supports victims and families, and establishes a mechanism for collaboration for researchers and practitioners,” said Assistant Attorney General Stuart F. Delery.  “While there are many other victim support websites available, we believed that the department could add significant value in this domain by consolidating information nationwide and making it more user-friendly.  The Civil Division will continue to strengthen its efforts to protect the elderly.”

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View the Elder Justice website here.

Written by Emily Study

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