Elderly often prey to abuse

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 26, 2003

There’s a common misconception that the elderly make up the most heavily victimized group in our society. But on Tuesday, Diane Bryant of the Suffolk Victim/Witness Services program informed members of the Suffolk Women’s Club that, in fact, young black males comprise that category. Nonetheless, seniors are still a choice target audience for predators.

During their presentations yesterday, Bryant and Diana Klink, community outreach coordinator for the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, let the women know how they can help them in preventing becoming crime victims and to cope with the legal aspects should violations ever take place.

Bryant focused on the disturbing issue of elderly abuse, which includes not only physical harm, but also neglect, self-neglect, psychological/emotional abuse, abandonment, and financial abuse. Further, she highlighted the various forms that criminals will take and methods they will use to get money and property from the elderly.


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She urged the members, for example, to be wary of fraudulent telemarketers. A legitimate organization, for example, will otherwise willingly provide you all the information you need and not use pressure tactics to make its point or seek out a donation.

Such advice is applicable to people of any age, and we encourage residents to be on guard for telemarketers that might call and request money that is intended for families of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq. Don’t brook traffic with such schemes that sound the slightest bit suspicious.

Young people, the middle-aged and elderly all need to be aware of their personal finances and safeguard not only their money and property but also, more importantly, themselves from deceptive persons and organizations.

Want to know more? Contact Klink and Bryant at www.suffolk.va.us/cwatty/ or call 934-2222.