Experts outline recommendations to prevent abuse and neglect of older Mainers
Augusta, ME (STL.News) Governor Janet Mills released the Elder Justice Roadmap, the state’s first report focused on combatting elder abuse compiled by public and private sector experts on the Governor’s Elder Justice Coordinating Partnership.
Established by Governor Mills in 2019 with the support of the John T. Gorman Foundation and the Muskie School of Public Service, the 21-member Elder Justice Coordinating Partnership has identified challenges to the prevention of, detection of, and response to elder abuse in the State of Maine and has developed strategic priorities across the public and private sectors to prevent and respond to elder abuse. These recommendations, contained in the Elder Justice Roadmap, range from improvements in direct victim services, public and professional education, public policy and data collection and evaluation.
“The abuse of vulnerable people, especially our older citizens, is an insidious crime that has no place in Maine,” said Governor Janet Mills. “I am grateful to the public and private sector organizations on my Elder Justice Coordinating Partnership who have worked to thoughtfully determine how we can better protect Maine seniors from abuse, neglect, and all forms of exploitation. I look forward to reviewing these recommendations and advancing our efforts to combat elder abuse.”
“Tens of thousands of older Mainers experience elder abuse every year,” said Jaye Martin, Private Sector Chair of the Partnership and Executive Director of Legal Services for the Elderly. “This Roadmap identifies actions that can be taken to address this crisis and improve Maine’s response to elder abuse and exploitation. We look forward to continuing to work with the Mills Administration to improve life for all seniors in Maine.”
“By working together to implement the changes outlined in this Roadmap, public and private sector entities can help decrease the incidence of elder abuse in our state,” said Judith Shaw, Public Sector Chair of the Partnership and Maine Securities Administrator. “This Roadmap identifies clear priorities that responding organizations can use in the fight against elder abuse and I encourage communities across the State to take them to heart in their efforts.”
As District Attorney and as Attorney General, Governor Mills prosecuted crimes against older Maine people and, in 2014, convened a Task Force of prosecutors, law enforcement, court officials and lawmakers to combat elder financial abuse in Maine that issued a report in 2015. In 2019, Governor Mills also signed into law LD 566, “An Act to Protect Vulnerable Adults from Financial Exploitation”, which requires certain professionals who suspect financial exploitation to report those concerns to Adult Protective Services and the Office of Securities.