Taking a break from the song lyrics and such for a week. I wanted to discuss elder abuse this week in a 5-day series of blog posts. I will be providing some dimensions on the problem in Virginia (and the USA), and then, over the course of the week, sharing some thoughts on what we (readers of this blog) can do to ameliorate some of the causes of this abuse. I'll also talk a bit about some resources that people can use to get help if they (or a loved one or elderly friend) have been abused. I WANT TO WARN YOU... This is not a topic for the fainthearted. Please note that there will be discussions of a sensitive nature in here. And also note, I will be moderating the responses. Keep things respectful and all that...
Ok. We all know that people of all ages can be abused or neglected. This is not to minimize that issue. But I wanted to shine the light on elder abuse because my business, in part, is in dealing with prevention and/or the aftereffects of elder abuse and neglect. I am a lawyer, but I also have a huge heart, and a spot in it for the elderly among us. I always have respected the elderly and have tried to show that every day in all my interactions. Imagine my shock, then, as I matriculated through law school, and learned the true dimensions of the problem of elder abuse in Virginia. A recent article in the Virginian-Pilot by Mr. Dave Ress provided some sobering insight into the crisis in Virginia. Link here. Article text cut and pasted below.
More older and disabled Virginians are suffering abuse or neglect
Proven cases rose 9 percent during fiscal year 2018, with some 11,924 Virginians suffering some kind of neglect or physical, mental or financial abuse. Cases were up 12 percent in fiscal 2017.
But the problem is probably much worse, said Del. Mike Mullin, D-Newport News, who successfully pushed the General Assembly to tighten Virginia’s law on adult abuse.
“Elder abuse, like sexual abuse, is one of the least reported crimes,” said Mullin, a former prosecutor who specialized in domestic abuse and juvenile cases.
“It’s always somebody else’s problem, so it becomes nobody’s problem,” he said.
Mullin said he’s worried Virginia’s patchwork approach to social services leaves too many people to fall through the cracks.
“It’s not always easy to ferret out what’s going on,” he said. “Social workers are overworked with huge caseloads.”
He said the Peninsula’s new multi-disciplinary team on adult abuse, which brings together social workers, police, prosecutors, financial experts and doctors to dig into difficult cases, is an approach that could help statewide.
“These issues aren’t easy to fix; it’s not something we’re going to solve with a a bill, we’re not going to solve it with just another $1 million,” said state Sen. Monty Mason, D-Williamsburg.
He said Virginia needs to take a serious look at what services the elderly and disabled get — especially since the largest number of cases that involve adult protective services are those of self-neglect.
He said one good sign, suggesting that Virginians are more aware of the issue, is the department’s report that allegations of abuse rose even faster than substantiated cases.
“We believe the growth in reports suggest that people recognize signs of adult abuse and are increasingly willing to speak out over concerns about the welfare of a family member, neighbor or friend,” Paige McCleary, director of the department’s Adult Protective Services Division, said in a statement.
Of the substantiated cases, social workers found more than 7,100 involved self-neglect, while another nearly 2,500 involved neglect by others. Nearly 800 involved physical abuse and more than 700 involved mental abuse.
Cases of financial exploitation jumped by 26 percent compared to the year before, to more than 1,750. Cases of sexual abuse jumped by 41 percent, to 89.
*** Jeff here again... Did you see the numbers in this table?
Here's a look at total complaints of abuse or neglect of elderly and disabled adults in Hampton Roads last year (2018). Generally, about half are substantiated.
Locality — # of reports
Chesapeake — 1,387
Hampton — 302
Newport News — 758
Norfolk — 1,338
Portsmouth — 219
Suffolk — 446
Virginia Beach — 1,790
Tomorrow, we will talk more about this important issue.
Jeff Sodoma, MPA, Esq. is a lawyer based in Virginia Beach, Virginia
Hello, there! Welcome to my blog. I will use this blog as a platform for my writing. I will write about topics in the legal world, certainly, as well as everything else under the sun, because I have many interests (and viewpoints). All views expressed in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are mine alone. One of my interests is music--my wife believes that I should go on "Beat Shazam" because I know so many songs--and I will be, from time to time, analyzing song lyrics and how they relate to the legal world.