Elderly adults and people with disabilities who have been financially exploited are more likely to have been victimized by family members, according to a new report from Oregon’s Department of Human Services.
The study looked at more than 400 investigations into allegations of abuse in 2011 against adults over the age of 65 and adults with physical disabilities between the ages of 18 and 64.
Money was stolen from 60 percent of victims. The next most commonly stolen items were medication and personal property.
“It’s kind of a opportunistic type of abuse,” said Rebecca Fetters, policy analyst for the Department of Human Services. She says most of the alleged perpetrators – 55 percent of them – were family members.
“I don’t know that people would go out necessarily and exploit someone else, but, just by virtue of the family relationship and circumstances, they’re in a position where they have the access and ability to do that,” Fetters said.
Fetters said DHS has plans to work more closely with bankers and law enforcement to prevent and prosecute these cases.