Addressing rising elder abuse in Virginia

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

Patricia* moved to Virginia to live with her daughter and son-in-law. Not long after moving in, their relationship began to sour, and Patricia began suffering both physical and mental abuse. She was eventually told she had less than a week to move out with no alternative support network in place. Unfamiliar with resources in Virginia, she didn’t know where to turn.

Elder abuse—one of the least reported crimes—is on the rise in Virginia. In 2018, elder abuse cases rose 9 percent with around 11,924 Virginians suffering from neglect or physical, mental, or financial abuse.

Patricia contacted our Senior Legal Helpline, and we referred her to Adult Protective Services as well as information on the city’s housing crisis assistance contact. While resources like the Helpline provide some relief, there is much that can be done to improve direct services at the local level.

Thanks to a new law from this year’s General Assembly session, local departments of social services can put together multidisciplinary teams to increase awareness and connect vulnerable adults to medical, social, and legal services. We encourage you to contact your local representatives and encourage them to implement a team focused on addressing and preventing abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.

To learn more, contact the Statewide Senior Legal Helpline at (844) 802-5910.

*Name has been changed to protect the client’s identity.

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