WASHINGTON – As many as two million elderly Americans have been victims of abuse — among the most under reported crimes in the country.
Elder abuse comes in different shapes and sizes from stealing money, to neglect or violent beatings. Recent studies find that only one in every 14 cases are reported.
And those numbers are on track to get worse.
Judge John Campbell presides over the D.C. Superior Court’s probate division, which oversee cases for incapacitated adults or adults in need of guardianship. He is seeing more elder abuse cases come through his courtroom as the population ages.
“People are living longer and with older age comes frailty and disease and dementia,” Campbell says.
And those conditions make the elderly prime targets for abuse as often they don’t understand what’s happening.
“It’s extremely, extremely upsetting to see it. These are the people who raised us and took care of us. And now they are being abandoned and exploited,” Campbell says.
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