A group of the nation’s attorneys general will gather next week in Manhattan, Kan., to discuss state responses to elder abuse and related issues. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt will host the group for his Presidential Initiative Summit, which is the culmination of his year-long focus on “Protecting America’s Seniors: Attorneys General United Against Elder Abuse.”
“The demographic reality of a growing senior population, coupled with the demographic reality of increased amounts of the nation’s wealth held and controlled by seniors, is going to make some of the unique dynamics of elder abuse a front and center issue of importance for law enforcement and social service agencies around the country.”
The speakers will address topics including the medical dynamics of aging, elder abuse investigations, senior consumer protection, financial relationships and interagency partnerships.
“We think that we have a chance here to really help push forward the national conversation among the state Attorneys General around the country, get them focused,” said Schmidt. “We really need to build capacity that’s going to outlast all of us, so that we’ve institutionalized the ability to respond to and deal with elder abuse cases.”
The summit begins at 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday, April 17, and will conclude at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18. The Tuesday sessions will be at the Hilton Garden Inn Ballroom, 410 S. 3rd St., and the Wednesday sessions will be at the K-State Alumni Center Banquet Room, 1720 Anderson Ave.
Schmidt is also pleased with the progress the Legislature has made on the issue in the past several years.
“The Legislature has overhauled our mistreatment statutes to make them much clearer, much stronger with respect to the mistreatment of elder persons,” said Schmidt. “There’s another proposal pending this year I hope they’ll wrap up and enact when they come back for the veto session that would further strengthen the mistreatment statute. They’ve done quite a bit on the penalties side. They’ve done quite a bit with respect to making it a bit easier to prove some of the financial abuse cases, which is very important. They’ve been very good about overhauling in our office, the abuse, neglect and exploitation unit, giving it clearer authority, more focus on the abuse of vulnerable adults, including elder persons, giving us much stronger authorities to identify and then follow through on investigating and prosecuting those cases.”
Speakers for the summit include Roberta Flowers, co-director, Center for Excellence in Elder Law, Stetson University College of Law; Ed Hutchison, executive director, National Association of Triads, Inc.; and Laura Mosqueda, M.D., interim dean, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California. There also will be presentations from elder-abuse specialists at state attorney general offices and a welcome from Richard B. Myers, president of Kansas State University.