FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 15, 2016) – Today, Attorney General Andy Beshear held a ceremony in Frankfort to honor World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) and joined state leaders and elder advocates to raise awareness about elder abuse in Kentucky.
This annual event is celebrated June 15 and is designed to promote a better understanding of elder abuse and neglect.
“I have made it a core mission of my office to standup for senior citizens – they deserve our respect and kindness and not to constantly be the target of criminals,” Beshear said. “We are working every day to ensure that our office is doing everything we can to protect Kentucky seniors from abuse, neglect and scams.”
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day presents an opportunity to stand united, said Shannon Gadd, senior director of programs at ElderServe in Louisville. “It’s an opportunity to say to seniors, we see you, we love you and we will fight for you,” she said.
John E. Kuhn Jr., United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, was joined by U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky Kerry Harvey at the ceremony to announce the formation of an Elder Justice Task Force.
Kuhn’s office was chosen by the U.S. Department of Justice as one of 10 districts across the nation selected for the Elder Justice Task Force.
The task force brings together prosecutors, law enforcement and agencies that provide services to the elderly. It will focus on improving protections for seniors and to pursue nursing homes that provide unacceptable care to their residents.
The task force will be led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky and includes the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services; Kentucky Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit; Kentucky Attorney General’s Office of Senior Protection; and Kentucky State Police.
The Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control Unit and Office of Senior Protection work to prosecute elder abuse cases and provide education and training to those in a position to protect seniors. Beshear created the Office of Senior Protection at the beginning of his term.
Beshear said his office stands ready to assist the task force and help the thousands of seniors who are victims of abuse each year.
Evidence shows that nearly one out of 10 people over the age of 60 suffer abuse and neglect. And, seniors reportedly lose nearly $3 billion each year to scams and nearly $37 billion a year to elder financial abuse.
To help address is growing problem, Beshear has expanded his office’s elder abuse hotline (877-ABUSE-TIP) to operate 24-hours a day, seven days a week and launched Scam Alerts.
Scam Alerts is a transformational new communication service that allows Beshear’s office to send Kentuckians a text message or email alert the minute a new or trending scam is verified. Individuals can sign up for notices by texting the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468311), or enroll online at ag.ky.gov/scams and select to receive either text or email alerts.