Merced County authorities are working to combat elder abuse, an under-reported crime affecting thousands of people each locally and around the world.
Reports of possible elder abuse in Merced County have increased by at least 20 percent each of the past four years, officials said in a statement released this week.
More than 900 incidents of elder and dependent adult abuse cases in Merced County in 2017 were reported to Adult Protective Services and the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program in Merced County.
“It’s up to us as members of the community to Know Abuse, Report Abuse—to recognize when our older adults and those over 18 who are vulnerable are victims of abuse and then take that crucial next step to report it to law enforcement, the local Adult Protective Services agency, or for those in long-term care facilities, the Long Term Care Ombudsman’s office,” said Alexandra Pierce, deputy director of Adult and Aging Services for the Merced County Human Services Agency.
"In California, elder and dependent adult abuse is significantly under-reported," officials said in the statement. "For every case of elder or dependent adult abuse known to agencies, 24 are unknown."
In an effort to increase reporting, the Merced County District Attorney’s Office and the Merced County Human Services Agency are teaming up with advocates during the "KNOW ABUSE REPORT ABUSE" campaign.
Merced County has a 24-hour hotline for reporting abuse of older adults and disabled adults who may be physically or financially abused, neglected, or exploited. The local APS number is 209-385-3105. To report suspected abuse of an elder in a nursing home, residential care facility for the elderly, or assisted living facility, contact the State CRISIS line number: 1-800-231-4024 or the Merced County Long Term Care Ombudsman Program at 209-385-7402.