Home Elder abuse: New Central Virginia center to fight fastest growing crime in our nation

Elder abuse: New Central Virginia center to fight fastest growing crime in our nation

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This afternoon, Attorney General Jason Miyares announced a new Elder Abuse Investigation Center for Central Virginia.

He was joined by Central Virginia law enforcement and social services leaders, including Hanover Commonwealth’s Attorney Mackenzie Babichenko, Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin and Chesterfield Interim Police Chief Brad Badgerow.

The Elder Abuse Investigation Center is a unit within the Office of Attorney General that will seek to leverage partnerships with Central Virginia jurisdictions to work together to investigate and prosecute elder abuse in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and private homes, including assaults, neglect, sexual assaults, violent crimes and deaths. The Center will work with a coalition of law enforcement agencies, Commonwealth’s Attorneys and elder advocates from the cities of Richmond and Colonial Heights, as well as Chesterfield, Henrico, Hopewell, Hanover, Powhatan and Goochland counties. Other jurisdictions are expected to join the effort.

Elder abuse, which refers to crimes against seniors and vulnerable adults, is widely considered the fastest growing crime in our nation. Elder abuse includes physical abuse and financial exploitation. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, one in 10 Americans 60 years old and older have been victimized and that only one in 24 cases of abuse are reported to authorities.

“This year marks the beginning of the largest surge of Americans turning 65 in our nation’s history. By 2050, nearly one-quarter of the American population will be 65 or older. As our population ages, rates of elder abuse are expected to rise, but my office is proactively confronting this head-on,” Miyares said. “This new Elder Abuse Investigation Center represents a major step forward in my commitment to protect Virginia’s senior citizens and vulnerable adults. Virginia will remain at the national forefront of the fight against elder abuse.”

As Attorney General, Miyares has taken several new steps to fight back against elder abuse in Virginia, including advancing the Senior TRIAD program, streamlining consumer protection resources, and advising the General Assembly in crafting legislation to increase penalties for criminals and scammers who target vulnerable, older Virginians.

Although other regions of the Commonwealth of Virginia have similar elder abuse investigation coalitions, such as the Peninsula Elder Abuse Forensic Center, the center will be the first initiative in Central Virginia.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.

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