As reported in the Boulder Daily Camera, the Boulder County District Attorneys Office has noted an uptick in reports of abuse and exploitation of elderly people and people with developmental disabilities. They are crediting changes in state law that requires people in certain professions to report suspected abuse, not a higher rate of the crimes.
“We want to see reporting go up,” Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett said. “It’s an under-reported crime. We are glad when we see reporting going up and it’s gone up dramatically.”
A state law that took effect in 2014 requires certain professionals to report suspected abuse of anyone 70-years-old and older. Beginning in July of this year, the same professionals are now required to report suspected abuse of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
A sampling was done of DA’s office report numbers from September to November for 2011and showed the office received 40 reports. That jumped to about 100 during the same time period in 2015, and, after the law changed to include developmentally disabled adults, the number is 160 for that time period this year.
Garnett suspects that once the final statistics have been tallied, the reports his office is receive will have quadrupled.
“The challenge is all these cases need to be investigated to determine if legal action is appropriate,” he said. “That is a lot of work but we will figure out how to get it done.”
He added that it is possible that resources inside his office will have to be redirected to handle the case load, but he said it is a top priority, in part, because the population in Boulder County is aging.
If you suspect abuse of an elder, contact Adult Protection Services or call Rhett, an elder abuse attorney, at 303-444-1618 or email–firstname.lastname@example.org