Elder Abuse is on the Rise Nationwide Including MississippiBy Lawayne Childrey | Published 08 Mar 2011 12:06pm |
A rising number of elder abuse cases is being reported across the United states. At least 3,000 incidents were reported in Mississippi last year alone. MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports why and how law enforcement is attacking the problem.
During a recent congressional hearing actor Mickey Rooney testified that he had been the victim of elder abuse for years. The 90 year old told lawmakers that money had been stolen from him and that he had not been allowed to make important decisions. Barbara Wilburn, with the Mississippi Elder Justice Center says Rooney is not alone.
"Now it is adult children that are doing pretty wicked things to their elderly parents."
Wilburn is the director of the state’s only emergency shelter for seniors. She says abuse is a problem that's affecting a growing number of elderly Mississippians.
"Forcing them to write checks and get money for their needs or their drug needs. Or maybe drawing up fake wills and taking the properties away from them, selling the lands and stuff from underneath them. Depriving them of just daily needs."
"This crime is so under reported, law enforcement does not have the specialized training to deal with elder abuse issues."
That's Stephen Pickett Director of the Police and Sheriffs Statewide Elder Justice Center in Jackson.
"Seniors are so vulnerable to their caregiver, they're naturally forgiving. They're reluctant to seek prosecution when they've been abused because they don't want their circumstances to change around them."
Pickett says while the threats against seniors continue to rise key regulations remain lacking.
" As a community we're outraged but when we actually get to the courtroom or it's time to prosecute someone the outrage has not transferred into the courtroom into getting justice for seniors."
Pickett says while local state and national officials seek solutions to stopping elder abuse the first step is for suspecting neighbors, relatives and concerned citizens to report the problem. Lawayne Childrey MPB News.
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