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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 15, 2018

Joint Statement of Action to Promote Elder Justice in Rural America by the United States Department of Justice and Department of Agriculture

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Agriculture (USDA) are forming a working group to focus on ways to empower and to support rural and tribal communities to combat elder abuse and financial exploitation. Today on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, we collaboratively embark on a mission to work with older Americans in this Nation to improve their quality of life as envisioned by the Report to the President from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity.

The Nation’s seniors are treasured and revered members of our communities. Too often, however, seniors are targeted by unscrupulous criminals for fraud or are subjected to abuse. Factors more common in rural and tribal communities--including large geographic areas that elongate response time, fewer services and service providers, and limited access to broadband-- create additional challenges to identifying and combatting elder fraud and abuse in rural and tribal communities.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: "Much of the Western District of Tennessee is made up of rural communities, and it is an important priority for this office to protect our senior population across the district. To halt the scourge of abuse, exploitation and financial fraud against older citizens, we have designated an Elder Justice Coordinator in the U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate, prosecute, punish and deter crimes against our vulnerable seniors. We appreciate the partnership with the USDA, and we look forward to implementing the strategic action steps that result from this collaboration."

DOJ and USDA resolve to marshal our collective resources and expertise to enable rural and tribal communities to more effectively combat elder abuse and financial exploitation. We are forming a working group to develop recommendations and will jointly present strategic action steps in November 2018 at the Department of Justice’s Rural Elder Justice Summit in Des Moines, Iowa.

Updated June 15, 2018