COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – Thousands of abuse cases involving the elderly are reported and investigated every year in Ohio. The state’s top cop is now taking action to ensure their protection.
Attorney General Mike Dewine announced the Elder Justice Initiative Tuesday.
The focus is to increase the investigation and prosecution of elder abuse cases and improve victims’ access to services.
The office’s Crime Victim Services section will spearhead the initiative which will also get help from the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Elder abuse can take the form of physical, sexual, verbal and emotional abuse, as well as neglect and financial exploitation.
A 2009 Department of Justice study estimated that about one in nine people, age 60 and older, is abused each year.
For every one case reported to authorities, it is believed five more go unreported.
“Just be very, very aggressive. Sometimes, people don’t want to rattle a cage, but the message is to be aggressive. If it’s physical abuse you suspect or financial abuse you suspect, you have to be their advocate and it’s not something you can step away from,” said Attorney General Mike Dewine.
The Journal of the American Medical Association reports victims of elder abuse have a 300 percent higher risk of death than individuals not subject to abuse.