Pike County DHR: Elder abuse often unreported

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Local and state agencies hope to bring to light to the plight of neglected and abused adults during World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on Thursday.

At Pike County DHR, staff and community associates will be wearing purple, decorating the building in purple and distributing information on disabled and elderly abuse.

“Because the elderly are often dependent on others for their came and may become isolated, they are primary targets for abuse, neglect and exploitation,” said Tracy Larkins, interim director at Pike County DHR. “Sadly, victims are most often abused, neglected and exploited by individuals who are known and trusted.”

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The Alabama Department of Human Resources is responsible for investigating reports of adult abuse, neglect and exploitation. DHR also partners with more than 30 agencies as members of the Alabama Council for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.

Experts say that elder abuse is gravely under-reported, locally and throughout the nation.

In fiscal year 2016, the Alabama DHR investigated more than 9,000 reports of suspected abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults statewide.

“Our community partners can help but reporting suspected abuse, neglect and exploitation and by assisting DHR in arranging services to protect those individuals who cannot protect themselves,” Larkins said. “Our community partners are essential to assisting DHR in ensuring the safety and well-being of the elderly.”

If you suspect mistreatment of an elderly person or an adult who has disabilities, please call Pike County DHR at 334-807-6120.

Reports also may be made toll free to the Adult Abuse Hotline, 1-800-458-7214, or online at aps@dhr.alabama.gov. All reports are confidential and may be made anonymously.