Illinois Seeks to Address Thousands of Elder Abuse Cases; Sen. Wilcox named to Elder Abuse Task Force

McHenry, IL – State Sen. Craig Wilcox will join two other lawmakers and 19 other state and local appointees on the newly-created Elder Abuse Task Force. 

“In 2017, there were more than 16,000 reports of abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation received by Illinois’ Adult Protective Services within the Illinois Dept. on Aging,” said Sen. Wilcox. “This is an intolerable situation that must be addressed.” 

The 22-member Task Force was created this spring by the Legislature with the adoption of Senate Joint Resolution 13. The panel is charged with analyzing the effectiveness of the current system of reporting and how elder abuse is addressed, researching what works in other states, and developing a long-term plan for improving outcomes for older Illinoisans. The group must report its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor by Jan. 1, 2021. 

Other members of the task force are from state and local-level organizations that work directly with seniors, law enforcement, legal aid and finance. 

“While the state’s Department on Aging is a strong advocate for older Illinoisans, it’s always a good decision to review ongoing programs and services, and make changes where necessary, to ensure we are doing all we can to protect and support our elderly population,” said Wilcox. 

Other elder abuse statistics (from 2017) show the detailed extent of mistreatment

  • The majority of elder abuse reports were for Financial Exploitation, (8,604), followed by Emotional Abuse (6,476); Passive Neglect (6,679); Physical Abuse (3,782); Willful Deprivation (2,268); Confinement (1,381), and Sexual Abuse (765).
  • Victims generally experience more than one type of abuse.  For example, the highest form of abuse reported, financial exploitation, is highly associated with emotional abuse.
  • 67% of the victims were female; 33% were male.
  • 49% of abusers were male and 51% were female.
  • One in five victims is age 86 or older; more than half of the victims suffer from barriers to independent living such as being functionally impaired.

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), national elder abuse rates are also on the rise. A U.S. News & World Report article from April of this year indicated, “Between 2002 and 2016, the rate of assaults among men 60 and older jumped 75%, while it rose 35% among women between 2007 and 2016.” Researches obtained the information from the U.S. National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. Their study was published on April 5 in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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