Attorney Allister Adel joins to discuss elder abuse in Arizona

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October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and today we’re looking at the issue of elder abuse in Arizona, with Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel and Anita Norton, the Maricopa Association of Government’s Regional Domestic Violence Chair.

“Unfortunately it’s not just children that we hear about being abused its’ the elderly. They’re in a vulnerable position which is why we call it vulnerable adult abuse, it’s also people who have a disability things like that and often times it’s those that are entrusted with their care who inflict that abuse,” Adel said.

Norton said elder abuse does not just include physical, but also mental, psychological, emotional, financial. Sexual abuse is a factor as well, which is also on the rise. There has been a 150% increase in this over the last decade with adults.

Adel said her office is collaborating with partners on this issue and it takes everyone being on the same page for this issue to be solved. Adel said the office is working on investigating and prosecuting these cases in a uniform manner.

Norton agreed there have been too many people working alone on this issue and not working together on a coordinated plan to combat elder abuse.

“You have that and then the silence that comes with this abuse, especially to family members it’s a hard thing for people to admit, we have to really get educated to combat this,” Norton said.

With regards to Adel and how she has been, Adel said she has had a wonderful support system in place to help her.

When asked if she should have taken a leave of absence, Adel said she believed it was appropriate in hindsight.

“I was in constant contact with my staff and they were able to run the day-to-day operations without me there, I think I took the appropriate amount of time with the guidance of the medical team and my family that was in place helping me every step of the way,” Adel said.

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