CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office will collaborate with the federal government’s Elder Justice Initiative to fight elder abuse in West Virginia.
The U.S. Department of Justice initiative will incorporate Morrisey’s newly formed elder abuse litigation and prevention unit into its own list of elder abuse resources. That will enable EJI to refer any calls received from West Virginians to the state Attorney General’s Office.
“Our state cannot tolerate elder abuse, neglect and exploitation,” Morrisey said. “Protecting senior citizens demands cooperation between all levels of government. I’m thrilled to work with the Justice Department as our unit can serve as a clearinghouse to root out abuse in West Virginia.”
The April 24 announcement came as part of Money Smart Week, during which the the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office is emphasizing the importance of identifying and reporting elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.
The unit in the AG's office includes a team of civil prosecutors to hold accountable anyone who exploits, abuses or neglects West Virginia’s senior citizens.
Litigation brought by the unit will focus upon enforcing a wide variety of consumer protection laws, for which seniors are often targeted victims. Potential violations could occur at home, the automotive repair garage, hospital, nursing home, memory care facility or any number of other settings.
Assistant attorneys general, both assigned to consumer protection and to represent other state agencies, will work with the office’s clients and county prosecutors to refer matters as appropriate, including instances of criminal conduct, guardianship and conservatorship, as well as acts involving nursing homes and hospitals.
The prevention component involves collaborations with a wide variety of state and community partners across West Virginia. Those partnerships provide office representatives a chance to answer questions, give presentations and distribute vital information to educate seniors as to various risks and how to protect themselves.
Seniors in need of the unit’s expertise are asked to contact the AG's senior services and elder abuse hotline at 304-558-1155 or HelpForSeniors@wvago.gov. The hotline is open for senior citizens and their loved ones. Those preferring traditional mail can reach the office at P.O. Box 1789, Charleston, WV 25326.
The unit’s scam alert database is also key in raising awareness of potential scams. Senior citizens and their loved ones can subscribe to the email alerts at http://bit.ly/SeniorScamAlert.