June 15, 2019 is recognized as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, in which all communities have an opportunity to recognize the more than one million Americans age 65 or older who have suffered abuse. In an effort to help bring attention to the often overlooked reality of abuse within our senior population, Pitt County Department Social Services (DSS) staff will participate in a special Awareness Walk on Friday, June 14, 2019. The Walk will begin at 9:00am around the flagpole in front of the County Administrative Office Building, located at 1717 West 5th Street in Greenville.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, it is estimated that for every one case of reported abuse, neglect, exploitation, or self-neglect, approximately five more incidents go unreported. Elder abuse affects 1 out of every 10 people ages 60 and over, with some estimates reporting as high as 5 million incidents each year. Most victims are dependent on their abuser for basic needs, with the most common form of abuse being financial exploitation; followed by physical abuse, neglect, and emotional abuse.
From July 2017 – June 2018 in Pitt County, 541 reports alleging abuse, neglect, or exploitation were received. Well over 400 of those reports were screened in for evaluation, where approximately 163 of those resulted in the need Adult Protective Services. Reports of mistreatment among vulnerable adults have increased by more than twice the average rate of Pitt County’s comparison counties. Pitt County DSS maintains a staff of 1 Supervisor and 6 Social Workers to carry out the responsibility of this work.
Anyone who suspects abuse should contact the Pitt County Department of Social Services immediately at 252-902-1110. Tell the operator you wish to make an “Adult Protective Services Report” and allow for time to make the report.
To learn more about DSS efforts to prevent and raise awareness of elder abuse within the community, along with ways private residents and organizations can help, call 252-902-1110, or visit www.PittCountyNC.gov/DSS.