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DOJ Convenes National Elder Justice Law Enforcement Summit

The Justice Department is holding a two-day National Elder Justice Law Enforcement Summit, the first national gathering of local, state, and federal law enforcement to focus on efforts to combat elder abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, and fraud, DOJ reports. Representatives from local, state, and national law enforcement organizations from around the U.S. joined federal law enforcement representatives to discuss and learn about the various forms of elder abuse; identify promising practices, resources and tools available to state and local law enforcement; and foster greater collaboration between law enforcement and elder justice professionals to prevent, identify, and address elder abuse in their communities. Some topics addressed were how dementia may impact elder abuse investigations; how to overcome challenges associated with investigating financial exploitation; how trauma impacts older victims and the importance of connecting older victims with services; and the unique challenge of investigating abuse and neglect committed against nursing home residents.  


“Tragically, millions of older Americans suffer from some form of elder abuse each year,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin Mizer. “While the pandemic brought to light some of the most egregious elder abuses, we know that far too many cases still go unreported.” Mizer emphasized the value of collaboration among all levels of law enforcement, adding: “While the Department is steadfast in our commitment to pursue elder justice, it’s clear that none of us can do this work alone ,,, we continue to reap the benefits of working collaboratively with you.” He reiterated the Department’s commitment to supporting the critical work of state and local partners. Last October, the Justice Department released its fifth Annual Justice Report to Congress, highlighting ongoing efforts to root out heinous activity that targets and exploits vulnerable, older populations. Between July 2022 through June 2023, DOJ pursued nearly 300 criminal and civil actions against more than 650 defendants who collectively stole more than $1.5 billion from over 2.4 million victims. DOJ has returned hundreds of millions of dollars to victims of elder fraud schemes, while helping to freeze millions of dollars for other older victims before their funds were transferred to fraudsters. DOJ supported over 5,000 victim assistance organizations that provided services (including individual advocacy, crisis intervention, civil legal assistance, transportation, and emergency shelter) to over 240,000 victims 60 and older.

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