Dear Fellow Dade County Citizens:
As your Sheriff, I am writing you this letter to bring some light to a growing and worrisome problem: child and elderly abuse.
There is a growing epidemic affecting the weakest among us, by being mistreated, injured, and ignored. Here at the Dade County Sheriff's Office, we will not allow this to go unaccounted for. It is our best hope to protect all citizens, but especially our weakest and those that deserve our respect, protection, and care.
Elderly Abuse can come under many disguises, and may seem innocent at first, but the abused victim may not say anything out of fear of their caregiver. In Georgia we have several laws to protect our elderly and children from abuse and mistreatment.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, only one in five cases of elderly abuse are reported, and only one in 25 cases of financial abuses is reported. The statistics for Child Abuse are not much better, and need to be dealt with!
And frankly, I am determined to change those statistics in Dade County. The most common types of abuse to the elderly are physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, and neglect. Each type of abuse has its own set of identifiers and problems that are equally devastating to see. Some cases involve several of these types of abuses on one elderly person.
In addition to the Sheriff's Office, there are several other organizations that can assist with any type of abuse on the elderly, including Adult Protective Services that can be reached at 1-866-552-4464. The Department of Family and Children Services (DFACS) may also be contacted at 706-657-7611 to report abuse of an elderly family member. The Sexual Assault Center may be used for the abuses involving a sexual nature, and can be contacted at 706-861-0929.
In partnership with our local, state, and federal resources, your Sheriff's Office will be trying to eliminate elderly abuse in Dade County. Most instances of elderly abuse can be reported to Adult Protective Services at first, and then the system will bring it to the attention of Law Enforcement. I will be adding this to my Sheriff's Citizen Academy training this year for the public.
I want to thank you for the privilege of serving our community, and I will continue have our citizens best interest in mind.
Dade County Sheriff Ray Cross