Wise County making strides to fight elder abuse in the region with new multi-disciplinary team
In Wise County, Virginia, a multi-disciplinary team is in the works to help find justice for elder abuse victims. In just this month alone, Wise County’s Department of Social Services has received nearly 40 reports of adult abuse…and according to the National Council on Aging, one in 10 Americans over the age of 60 has experienced some form elder abuse. Commonwealth Attorney Chuck Slemp told WXBQ News reporter Abby Hathorn, “This is the biggest epidemic that nobody knows about.”
Law enforcement, prosecutors, victim advocates, and social prosecutors in Wise County make up this crime-fighting team. They met for the first time this week. This new emphasis seeking justice for the elderly comes after discovery that some elder abuse cases are difficult to prosecute. We spoke with one of the members of the team Jessica Roberts who works on elder abuse cases with the Wise County Department of Social Services. “I don’t think its going to end, no, and in a perfect world I would love for it to, and you know we could bring an end to it all together, but I think we could at least diminish the problem a bit if we bring light to it, and they see that we recognize this. We know there’s a problem, and we are doing something about it,” Roberts explained.
Slemp is hoping this new team will continue to spark change when it comes to fighting regional elder abuse. The group will meet monthly to review and collaborate on elder abuse cases in the county. The group will be holding a training session and seminar coming up in August to inform and assist the community with elder abuse, featuring a speaker from California as well as a celebrity guest. We will preview this more in an upcoming newscast.