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There are many challenges law enforcement face when policing elder abuse. Law enforcement must start doing a better job with protecting elders. Police officers are usually called when an individual’s safety is in danger or when a crime occurs (Berson, 2010). The mistreatment of elders is treated as a family issue in many cases (Berson, 2010). This means that many law enforcement officers tend to not take this issue serious because in majority of cases elders are not willing to testify against those who have abused them (Berson, 2010).
They are not willing to go against their loved ones in the courtroom. There are a few ways law enforcement can protect elders the first step would be to place elders who are being abused on a watch list and stop by their homes on a daily basis to ensure no harm is being done to them. Law enforcement agencies must recognize that the population in the United States is getting older and will continue to age (Berson, 2010).
This will challenge them to examine the ways they as law enforcement interact with the elders. Police operating procedures along with their investigation techniques will need to be modified in order to properly address elder abuse (Berson, 2010).
Law enforcement and detectives must become familiar with the resources designed for the elderly within the local, state, and federal governments. One example of elders protecting their loved ones would be a domestic violence case. There may be signs of abuse such as bruises left on their body, fear of talking to law enforcement, and in some cases signs of depression (Berson, 2010).
It is vital that law enforcement come up with new tactics to protect the elderly especially elders who are victims of multiple incidents of abuse. The Department of Justice provides resources for law enforcement to effectively respond to cases involving elder abuse (Berson, 2010). There are several state statues in place that protect elders however in many cases elders are still being mistreated and abused (Berson, 2010). Both prosecutors and law enforcement oftentimes work together in order to prosecute individuals who are committing these types of abuse. In many cases law enforcement officers are forced to close a case because elders choose not to take legal actions (Berson, 2010). Prosecutors help law enforcement by informing them on what cases they should pursue and what cases need to be closed. In order to ensure that law enforcement are not wasting their time prosecutors will notify them if they will take the case to court, this saves the law enforcement time on investigating unnecessary cases (Berson, 2010).
The U.S Census Bureau states that more than 62 million Americans will be at least 65 years of age or older by 2025 (Berson, 2010). Out of 7,000 community elders one out of ten of those individuals are experiencing at least one type of abuse (Berson, 2010). Researchers conducted a survey on elder abuse in residential facilities. The results showed that 84 percent of elders experience abuse when living in these facilities (Berson, 2010). This means that more than half of the elders under the care of nursing homes and elderly homes are experiencing at least one form of abuse. The prosecutor is the protector when it comes to the criminal justice system. The prosecutor is the spokesperson for justice. It is their duty to ensure that the elder’s voices are heard in the courtroom. When dealing with these cases the prosecutor gathers information/evidence involving the case (Berson, 2010). They hold the offender accountable for their actions and protect the safety of the elder.
In conclusion, it is extremely important to protect the lives of these elders. It is a disgrace to do wrong by those who have come before the present generation. Fixing this issue will not be an overnight process however, if law enforcement and prosecutors continue to work together they can continue to put these types of offenders behind bars. Elder abuse is a prevalent issue going on in today’s society and there must be consequences in place to punish those who are mistreating the elderly. This issue will take time to fix however, there are programs in place for elders seeking help and in desperate need to get away from the people abusing them.
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