Justice Officials Meet With Key Stakeholders On Launch Of Elder Justice Website
WASHINGTON - Earlier today, Associate Attorney General Tony West, Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery for the Civil Division and members of the Department’s Elder Justice Initiative met with stakeholders in the field of elder abuse and financial exploitation to launch the Elder Justice website in an effort to further prevent and combat elder abuse and financial exploitation.
Associate Attorney General West and Assistant Attorney General Delery delivered remarks at the outreach event to federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as to other partners who combat elder abuse. The remarks focused on the significant contributions that the Elder Justice website can make to the field and on the Department’s commitment to protecting seniors from abuse and exploitation. The Elder Justice website will serve as a resource for elder abuse prosecutors, researchers and practitioners, and most importantly, for victims of elder abuse and their families. This website will also serve as a forum for law enforcement and elder justice policy communities to share information and enhance public awareness on the subject matter.
“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 West. “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.”
Protecting older Americans is one of the Department's top priorities, as evidence shows that nearly one in 10 people over the age of 60 suffer abuse and neglect. Elder abuse includes physical, sexual and emotional abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. Elder abuse 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 our health care, financial and judicial systems.
Older Americans are also targeted by consumer scams, health care fraud and financial exploitation, and protecting this group from financial exploitation is also a priority of the department. It is estimated that older adults in the United States lose more than $2.9 billion annually from financial exploitation. Financial loss may result in loss of independence, decreased health and psychological distress, all of which culminate in a diminished quality of life for older adults. Over the years, the department has successfully prosecuted a number of criminals who targeted the elderly through reverse mortgage fraud scams and lottery scams. Healthcare fraud prevention and consumer protection efforts are examples of ways the department protects older Americans from financial exploitation.
“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 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.”
Partners in attendance included the Federal Trade Commission; the American Bar Association; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General; the National Association for Medicaid Fraud Control Units; the Office of the U.S. Attorney General for the District of Columbia; the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; and the Social Security Administration.