May is Older Americans Month (OAM), a time when we “celebrate their achievements and recommit to providing our elders with the support and services they need to thrive and age with dignity,” as President Biden stated in a recent proclamation. The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) supports initiatives that ensure older Americans who are victims of crime have access to victim services so that they can experience a sense of security, peace of mind, and the support of their community. These initiatives support trainings for law enforcement to improve identification of and response to elder fraud victims; fund the development of elder abuse multidisciplinary teams and a National Elder MDT Training and Technical Assistance Center; and address the gap in civil legal services for victims of elder abuse and exploitation.
In FY 2022, OVC released a new solicitation—Transforming America’s Response to Older Victims—to provide funding to develop or expand seven statewide Elder Justice Coalitions, through which elder justice advocates, legal aid professionals, and victim service providers can collaborate to identify and address gaps in services to older victims of abuse and financial exploitation. The Grants.gov deadline is June 13, 2022.
The issue of elder fraud recently hit very close to home. OVC encountered scammers attempting to obtain money and personal information using my identify and that of our office. And, we received hundreds of reports that individuals were impersonating National Elder Fraud Hotline staffers, falsely telling potential victims there was legal action filed against them and seeking their personal identifiable information (PII). Please remain vigilant in protecting your PII and remember that anyone asking you to pay by gift card is a scammer. If you or someone you know is a victim of elder fraud, we encourage you to call the Hotline at 1-833–FRAUD–11 (833–372–8311).
As we close out Older Americans Month, we look ahead to World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15th. There will be many opportunities to commemorate WEAAD, including training opportunities from OVC grantees and partners, including the U.S. Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative (EJI). For example, with funding from OVC, the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) is hosting a free, 1-day training course that provides criminal justice practitioners in the United States with information to assist older victims of transnational fraud. Find other OAM- and WEAAD-related events and trainings on our Events page.
We know that for Americans to thrive in their later years, they need to be kept safe from abuse and fraud and supported with victim-centered approaches that are uniquely crafted to respond to them. In commemoration of OAM and WEAAD, we invite you to join OVC in our commitment to connecting seniors to the supports they need and reduce elder fraud and abuse. You can find resources for making those connections on the OVC and EJI websites. We hope you will take advantage of them.