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State AG’s Office urges reporting of suspected elder abuse

The California Attorney General's Office today announced the launch of a three-year statewide public education campaign, "Face It. It's a Crime." to address the growing and serious problem of elder and dependent adult abuse.

“Elder and dependent adult abuse are crimes against some of our most vulnerable citizens,” said Tom Porter, California Director or AARP, an association that represents elderly citizens and retirees. “With the population of Californian’s aged 65 or older expected to grow to 6.3 million in 15 years, incidents of abuse are likely to grow. It is critical that Californians are aware of the problem, able to identify signs of abuse, and can report it to the appropriate authorities.”

Beginning this month and continuing for the next two years, the Attorney General’s media campaign will include paid advertising, public relations and community outreach activities in both English and Spanish to raise awareness of the problem of elder and dependent adult abuse among all Californians.

The primary goal of the campaign is to educate Californians about how to identify and report cases of neglect and physical, psychological and financial abuse of elders and dependent adults. The campaign will prominently feature a toll-free hotline (1-888-436-3600) that was established for the reporting of suspected cases of elder or dependent adult abuse. The hotline will directly connect callers wishing to report suspected abuse to their local Adult Protective Services Agency or the Long-Term Care Ombudsman crisis line.

The California Attorney General’s Office estimates that one of every 20 elderly Californians is a victim of neglect or physical, psychological, or financial abuse. A recent survey sponsored by the Attorney General’s Office showed that while 59 percent of the respondents believed that elder abuse was prevalent, only 11 percent believe that the signs of elder and dependent adult abuse are easy to recognize. Those finding helped shape the campaign’s goal of educating Californians on how to better recognize elder and dependent adult abuse.

The campaign was established by AB 1819 by former Assemblyman Kevin Shelly, D-San Francisco, which was signed into law in 2000.

For more information on the campaign, please visit www.safestate.org.

April 28, 2003

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