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Sussex Countian: Elder Abuse Awareness Day event held in Georgetown
A change in public attitudes and additional state resources are needed to protect seniors from physical abuse, neglect and fraud, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden said last week.
“Thirty years ago, we didn’t talk about domestic violence because it was something that happened in the four walls of a home,” Biden said. “But we changed that, and now, we need to do the same thing with elder abuse, so that we can embolden victims to speak out.”
Biden joined several state officials and a representative from the U.S. Postal Inspection Office at the CHEER Community Center near Georgetown on Friday to recognize the seventh-annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Similar events also were held in Dover and Newark.
Biden said hundreds of seniors in the First State are victimized every year, although only about 20 percent actually report the crime.
“Mostly, it is because they are embarrassed,” he said. “And a lot of the time, it is because the people who have exploited them are the same people who love them, or say they love them.”
Biden said crimes against seniors are expected to increase in frequency as the state’s population ages. He said number of Delaware residents older than 65 years is expected to double in the next 18 years.
Biden called on state officials to make combating senior abuse a higher priority.
“Right now, there is only one full-time person in my office dedicated to prosecuting these cases,” he said. “We need more resources to fight this obvious, obvious problem.”