Fresno holds first elder abuse awareness day event

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Local law enforcement leaders from Fresno, Clovis, and Madera gathered in a room along with other agencies, to shed light on an issue some believe go unnoticed: elder abuse.

Program Manager for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, Susan Bussean, said, "Elder abuse is so under-reported, no one wants to talk about it, no one wants to know about it."

This is the first time an Elder Abuse Awareness Day event takes place in Fresno. According to the Fresno County Department of Social Services, they have investigated more than 1,000 cases of abuse this year so far-- that's already eight-percent more than last year.

The Fresno Police Department said they receive at least 50 calls regarding elder abuse each month. But it's not all on the rise, in Madera Police Chief Dino Lawson noted over the last three years they have seen a decrease.

"It is always a problem, but actually it is really great that we are seeing a decline this year."

Apart from physical abuse, the other most common is financial abuse. This includes family money theft and a slew of different scams. Police said one of the most popular is scammers pretending to be relative that's been incarcerated.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said, "They need money to post bail in order to get their grandson out, and they tug on the heartstrings of that individual."

Bussean said elder abuse has no boundaries. Earlier this week, Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee accused his business partner of elder abuse.

RELATED: Los Angeles police investigating reports of elder abuse against Marvel Comics' Stan Lee

Bussean said one of the problems is that abuse isn't always reported.

"People are afraid of being cut off, by the person, the only person that might come to visit them."

People who attended were able to learn about different resources for seniors. In the future, the hope is to make the event even bigger so more people can be reached.
Copyright © 2022 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.