Friday, February 22, 2008

Kentucky Takes the Lead on Elder Abuse Prevention

By Michelle Rauch E-mail Biography

University of Kentucky Gerontologost Dr. Pamela Teaster is leading the fight to prevent elder abuse not just in Kentucky, but across the country.
She has just been named the president of the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. A five state research project she has spent several years on has already shown Kentucky is on the cutting edge of this issue.

The state has local elder abuse coordinating councils in most of the counties something that can't be found in any other state.

It is something Dr. Teaster says can be replicated and should. It is estimated for every one report of elder abuse five more go unreported.

"Prosecution rates are not as high as they could be. Families do not want to come forward. Elders don't want to admit it. It's historically difficult to prove," Dr. Teaster says.

But research like hers and education are changing that.

"Child abuse has had federal funding whereas elder abuse only has state and community funding or community funding. We would like the elder justice act passed finally," Teaster says.

That would bring federal legislation and funding to fight against elder abuse.

Kentucky Facts From the Cabinet for Health and Family Services
6,000 reported cases of elder abuse or neglect are reported every year.
Allegations of abuse typically fall into three main categories, physical and sexual abuse, caretaker neglect and financial exploitation. The average age of victims was 75. Most crimes against the elderly are committed against women; however the gender gap is narrowing.

Help Lines and Hotlines

Elder Abuse Hotline 1-800-752-6200
Long Term Care Ombudsman 1-800-372-2991
Attorney General's Tip Line 1-877-ABUSE-TIP or 1-877-228-7384
Attorney General's Online Reporting Form
Spouse Abuse Hotline 1-800-544-2022

Elder Abuse National Resources:

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