Carr Joins National Effort to Combat Elder Abuse
As published in Insider Advantage
By Baker Owens
Some months ago, not long after Attorney General Chris Carr had assumed office, he spoke at the Atlanta Young Republicans (AYR) meeting and talked about his priorities. He mentioned three items he would be focusing on – human trafficking, opioid addiction and elder abuse.
Those first two are well-known and in the news regularly. That third item however, is not. And it is sadly more common than people might think. A report from the New England Journal of Medicine found that 10% of elder Americans had experience some sort of abuse – including physical, psychological or verbal abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation and neglect. And it’s considered underreported. Perhaps more disturbingly, according to a study from the National Council on Aging, the abuser is a family member about 60% of the time.
On Thursday, Carr announced the next steps in his efforts. His office will be participating in an effort by the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) which will focus on nationwide solutions to combat elder abuse. NAAG President and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt will lead the bipartisan group. Carr will be joined by three other state attorneys general in the group: Mark Brnovich (R-Ariz.), Peter Kilmartin (D-R.I.) and Ellen Rosenblum (D-Ore.).
“The abuse, neglect, and exploitation of at-risk and older citizens is a tragic and evolving issue that is plaguing, not only Georgia, but our entire country,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “When I learned of NAAG President and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s intentions for the working group, I was eager to get our office involved. This type of collaborative effort is exactly what we need to create real results, and we look forward to working with our national partners to crack down on this malicious behavior in all its forms.”
As the Baby Boomers pass the age of 65, a higher portion than ever of the population is in that age group. In 1900, only about 3% of the population was over the age of 65. By 2010, that number had grown to 12% – comprised of 40 million Americans.
“Elder abuse has been called the silent epidemic of our time,” Attorney General Schmidt said. “It is a crime that too often operates in the shadows. But the numbers are staggering, and as the population age 65 and older continues to grow, it is clear that we all need to do more to combat this serious problem.”
Back at the AYR meeting in April, Carr said that one of the biggest things his office can do is spread awareness of the issue. This has been a big part of the success of combating human trafficking and Carr’s office is working to bring some of those lessons to this issue. The NAAG cited a few different efforts in states:
· Establishing an Elder Abuse Unit within their office to help state residents;
· Protecting senior citizens from financial exploitation through both education and prosecution;
· Educating seniors and their families on crime prevention and adult bullying; and
· Providing techniques on how to avoid scams and victimization
The initiative is titled “Protecting America’s Seniors: Attorneys General United Against Elder Abuse” and will culminate in a summit next April. “My hope is that when this year is ended, we have identified some of the best ideas from around the country and made them readily available to adapt for other states,” said Schmidt.