TOPEKA – (June 15, 2018) – A new initiative in Kansas seeks to train law enforcement and community members to spot the signs of elder financial abuse, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today. The announcement comes on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which is marked June 15 each year.
Schmidt’s Senior Consumer Protection Advisory Council has worked over the past several months to develop a series of curricula that can be used to train law enforcement officers, as well as community members, on how to spot potential cases of financial abuse, particularly those targeting senior citizens.
“We know that the financial abuse of seniors is a growing problem,” Schmidt said. “It’s important for everyone who regularly interacts with older Kansans to know the warning signs of financial abuse or exploitation and to know options for intervening to stop it. It’s also important for local law enforcement officers to know what resources are available to assist them in investigating these often-difficult cases.”
The training programs include topics such as victim interaction; investigating physical, sexual and financial crimes; legal issues; consent, cognition and capacity; and general information and resources. Some of the presentations are directed primarily for law enforcement personnel, while others include information more suitable for general audiences.
Two of these law enforcement trainings already have been presented in recent months in Topeka and Shawnee, with 54 law enforcement officers so far receiving training. Steven Karrer, deputy attorney general for the Fraud and Abuse Litigation Division in Schmidt’s office, is the principal trainer. A third in-person training for law enforcement officers is scheduled in August.
A collaboration with the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center will make the trainings available online for law enforcement officers statewide.
The effort comes as the result of Attorney General Schmidt’s focus on combating elder financial abuse during his term as president of the National Association of Attorneys General. Schmidt’s presidential initiative, titled “Protecting America’s Seniors: Attorneys General United Against Elder Abuse,” has resulted in numerous conversations and trainings about how to build capacity to fight elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. Schmidt said he hopes these training programs, and the overall increased efforts to combat elder abuse, will be a lasting legacy of his presidential initiative.