DHS: 19,000 allegations about adult abuse in Oklahoma in 2019

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services announced an online campaign to raise awareness about elder abuse.

“Each year, thousands of older Oklahomans suffer abuse, neglect and exploitation by family members and other caregivers,” said OKDHS Aging Services Director Jeromy Buchanan. “Many of these victims are frail and vulnerable and it is our collective responsibility to help keep them safe. The new portal allows Oklahomans to make reports in support of our elders to offer them help and hope when they need us most.” 

The agency has developed a toolkit for individuals to recognize the signs of abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

“Senior citizens are among our most vulnerable,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Their well being should be a top priority for public officials as it is for their loved ones. Sadly, because of diminished mental capacity or other age-related illnesses, seniors are sometimes unable to effectively communicate the abuse they are suffering. These resources aim to help Oklahomans properly identify the signs of elder abuse and neglect and what to do if they suspect an issue. I appreciate leadership from OKDHS and cooperation from our other partner agencies on this profoundly meaningful campaign.”

The agency is also calling attention to its new online portal AbuseIsNotOK.org for public reporting of these crimes.

In 2019, there were nearly 19,000 allegations of vulnerable adult abuse, neglect, and exploitation were reported in Oklahoma.

“Each year, thousands of our Oklahoma elders suffer abuse, neglect and exploitation by family members and other caregivers,” said OKDHS Aging Services Director Jeromy Buchanan. “Many of these victims are frail and vulnerable, and it is our collective responsibility to help keep them safe. The new portal allows Oklahomans to make reports in support of our elders to offer them help and hope when they need us most.”

Signs that a vulnerable adult is the victim of abuse, neglect or exploitation can include hesitation to talk openly, bruises or wounds that do not heal and unusual bank account activity.

To learn more warning signs of abuse and to access resources from the campaign, visit AbuseIsNotOK.org.

If individuals suspect a vulnerable adult is being victimized, authorities recommend immediately reporting the incident by calling 1-800-522-3511.

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