LANSING, Mich. (WLNS/WOOD) — Michigan’s task force to fight elder abuse, which has been called America’s growing crime, is standardizing the way the crime is reported across the state.
According to state officials, more than 73,000 Michiganders experience elder abuse every year. Attorney General Dana Nessel says it is one of the most underreported and underprosecuted crimes in the state, which is why she launched the statewide Elder Abuse Take Force five months ago.
On Tuesday, the task force rolled out a new investigation form for use by every law enforcement agency across Michigan. It will guide officers through identifying and documenting the nature of the abuse or exploitation, investigating and sending the case along to the state.
“This form helps establish a best practice that will definitely help in not only the investigation, but the prosecution of those who commit the offense of elder abuse,” Michigan State Police Col. Joe Gasper said at a press conference in Lansing.
Nessel said the uniform reporting method will get everyone on the same page.
“The ability to have these multidisciplinary teams working together, everybody understands how important that is,” she said. “The need for this form and the great importance of it, it’s something that everyone agreed with,” she said.
Authorities say a similar standardized form created in 1994 for responding to domestic abuse helped improve law enforcement response.
Anyone can report elder abuse anytime by calling 800.24.ABUSE (22873). Nessel had a warning for those to target the vulnerable population:
“Law enforcement will come after them, they will be investigated, they will be prosecuted, they will be convicted and they will be held accountable,” she said.