Elder Abuse on the Rise

Elder Abuse on the Rise

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**To report elder abuse, you can call 801-264-7669 in Salt Lake County or 1-800-371-7897 statewide.**Tonya Papanikolas Reporting

Many people have a special place in their heart for grandparents. But not all seniors across the state are being treated with respect.

Ron Stromberg, Adult Protective Services Director: �People are saying, �Well, nobody would abuse Grandma. What are you talking about? This can't be happening.�"

But it is. Though most abuse goes unreported, last year Adult Protective Services investigated more than 2400 cases against seniors, and the number is increasing about 7-percent every year. So last month the department unveiled a new media campaign to increase awareness.

Ron Stromberg: �What we were trying to do is portray all kinds of different people in all kinds of different situations because elder abuse is not selective."

Though self-neglect is the largest area of elder abuse, financial exploitation is the fastest-growing, with people preying on the fears of elderly residents and widows.

Ron Stromberg: �They'll come in and say, �Wow, this house, your roof is starting to fall in.� We also see a lot of children, particularly adult children, literally stealing.�

Sixty-percent of the time perpetrators are family members, which makes it difficult for victims.

Angie Colemere, Adult Protective Services Investigator: �The elderly, they don�t want to turn inn their family. They don�t want to see their kids, grandkids, nephews, whatever, go to jail.�

Angie Colemere investigates these cases and helps seniors deal with all the hurt that can arise.

Angie Colemere: �You deal with shame and guilt and fear. Disbelief."

The department hopes if they can get more people reporting incidents, they'll be able to step in and offer more support and services.

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