According to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Connecticut ranks poorly in the amount of funding and quality of services it provides to victims of elder abuse.

Connecticut ranks 32nd out of 35 states in the amount of money it provides for adult protective services. It also ranks fifth lowest (out of 26) in the number of “substantiated” instances of elder abuse: only 446 of the approximately 3,800 elder abuse reports filed in 2009 were completely resolved or referred for prosecution.

Reaction to the report has been mixed. Some say the numbers clearly show that Connecticut needs to do more to protect its most vulnerable members of society. Others state that the report is inconclusive since Connecticut only refers serious elder abuse and neglect cases for criminal investigation, and many of the reported cases involved self-neglect.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D – CT, former Connecticut Attorney General and member of the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging) is part of the former group. He urges that Connecticut increase its policing of elder abuse caused by “people in positions of trust,” as well as dedicate more resources to adult protective services.

Connecticut’s Current Elder Abuse Laws and Programs

Under Connecticut General Statutes, “elder abuse” includes physical abuse, mental abuse, neglect (such as deprivation of services necessary to keep an elderly person healthy), financial exploitation and abandonment. Anyone who commits elder abuse may be subject to a court injunction (an order to stop the abuse), as well as criminal and civil liability.

The Department of Social Services’ (DSS) protective services program was “designed to safeguard people 60 years and older from physical, mental and emotional abuse, neglect and abandonment and/or financial abuse and exploitation.” The department protects elderly individuals by designing and implementing services that ensure safety and care. DSS can also request court orders to protect elderly individuals when their personal safety is at risk.

The protective services program is a comprehensive program; it simply lacks the level of funding provided to similar programs in other states.

Moving Forward

While approximately 3,800 Connecticut elder abuse cases were reported in 2009, that number is likely only a sampling of the number of elderly individuals actually abused. All forms of elder abuse – physical, emotional, sexual and financial – are under-reported. This only highlights the need for more funding, programs to spread the word about elder abuse, and effective policing to punish abusers and deter future abuse.

If you suspect you or a loved one is the victim of elder abuse, now is the time to act. A personal injury attorney experienced in elder abuse cases can help you take action and hold the abusers accountable for their actions.


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