The Department of Justice announced that the Office of Justice Programs’ Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) has awarded nearly $2 million for law enforcement training and technical assistance to improve the identification of elder fraud victims and connect victims to available resources. The department makes this announcement as communities around the world commemorate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
“America’s seniors lose billions of dollars every year to fraud and financial scams, in many cases watching helplessly as their entire life savings disappear before their eyes,” said Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan. “We are fully committed to helping our law enforcement partners better recognize and combat these reprehensible crimes, bring the perpetrators to justice and begin to repair the damage and restore victims.”
The National White Collar Crime Center will receive $1,940,738 to work with the International Association of Chiefs of Police to identify current training, tools and practices being used to address elder fraud. The project will specifically study current resources available and responses to elder fraud in a rural and an urban jurisdiction in two of the Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force districts and will develop and deliver trainings for law enforcement to improve the response to elder fraud tailored to the particular needs of different types of jurisdictions. The trainings will be tested, evaluated, and revised as needed and then made available to rural and urban law enforcement agencies nationwide. The Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force brings together the resources and expertise of the Justice Department’s Consumer Protection Branch, the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for six federal districts, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and other law enforcement personnel.
To further combat elder fraud and prevent harm to vulnerable victims, on March 3, 2020, the Justice Department launched the National Elder Fraud Hotline, managed by the OVC, providing services to all adults ages 60 and older who may be victims of financial fraud. Case managers on the hotline assess the needs of the callers and provide information to help them report fraud or may connect them directly with the appropriate agency. Since its inception, the National Elder Abuse Hotline has received more than 1,724 calls.
“Financial fraud is the most common form of abuse suffered by seniors in our country, affecting about one in 10 older Americans,” said OVC Director Jessica Hart. “I am confident that our investment in this effort, and our collaboration with these organizations, will lead to better identification of the victims of these deplorable crimes and greater justice for those victims.”
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was launched by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations. Its purpose is to raise awareness of the cultural, social, economic, and demographic processes affecting the abuse and neglect of older persons in communities around the world.
For more information on how OVC responds to the right and needs of older victims of elder abuse and financial exploitation, please visit: https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/mdt.
The Office of Justice Programs, directed by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan, provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, assist victims and enhance the rule of law by strengthening the criminal and juvenile justice systems. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.
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