This week the Clark County District Attorney’s Office has added an Elder Abuse Unit to the list of specialty teams in the office.
Two Deputy District Attorneys are now dedicated to the prosecution of elder abuse, vulnerable adult abuse and major fraud crimes. These crimes require a more focused and specialized area of law. In 2014, there were 61 cases submitted by law enforcement which qualified to be charged as elder abuse crimes. In the first six months of 2015, there were 32 of these types of cases submitted. These crimes include a variety of defined abuses, including physical and mental abuse, neglect, isolation and financial exploitation. The attorneys assigned to the Elder Abuse Unit will receive these cases as soon as they are submitted to the DA’s office, by law enforcement, and they will handle them all the way through the penalty phase.
"The protection of our seniors from fraud, theft and abuse is the responsibility of all agencies in the criminal justice system," said Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson. "These crimes target some of our most vulnerable citizens, can be devastating to a family, and have far-reaching impacts on our community as a whole."
Previously, cases involving the abuse or neglect of the elderly were assigned to general prosecution teams. With the creation of the Elder Abuse Unit, cases are now handled by a specialty team. The reassignment of resources for this new unit will have no negative fiscal impact on the office.
"We are pleased that District Attorney Wolfson has recognized the need for specially trained prosecutors, who can ensure that those who abuse and exploit our senior population are brought to justice," said Sugar Vogel, Executive Director of the Southern Nevada Senior Law Program. "All too often, those abused are dependent, in some way, on their abuser. It is important that their call for help will not fall on deaf ears."