Sunday, March 8, 2020
Last month the Atlanta Journal Constitution published a story, Audit: State failing elderly victims of abuse, neglect. "A state audit identified damning new evidence that Georgia’s system to protect seniors and vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect and exploitation is failing and the breakdowns are causing additional harm." How bad is it? The story goes on, "Among the significant gaps cited in Friday’s report by State Auditor Greg S. Griffin on Georgia’s Adult Protective Services system was that investigators are taking too long to respond to urgent cases, such as when the elderly were going hungry or were sexually abused. One year, some 500 vulnerable adults facing serious situations waited three days or more before an investigator arrived. APS employees also were rejecting reports that should have been investigated, the audit found."
There are many concerns that arise from the story (and report). Consider this one: "Multiple law enforcement personnel the auditors interviewed indicated they don’t report all cases of abuse, neglect or exploitation to APS, despite statutory requirements to do so. ... The audit noted that law enforcement officers “are hesitant to report cases that involve certain types of victims or abuse.” Officers said they prefer to handle cases themselves because of negative experience with APS or a belief that APS is overworked and can’t handle all the cases reported."
The article notes that the slapdash reporting creates problems beyond failure to report, including the inability of the elders to get services.
Here's another big concern from the article: " It notes that after the General Assembly approved funding in fiscal year 2016 to hire eight agents to focus on elder abuse, GBI didn’t use the funds to hire the allotted additional agents. Instead, it trained an agent in each of its 15 regions to be a resource on elder abuse. The audit questioned how effective the agency has been in addressing elder abuse, although the agency in its response said it had increased its caseload."
To read the full article, click here.