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Elder abuse is on the rise in Maricopa County

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Coverage of aging is supported in part by AARP Arizona

Elder abuse is on the rise in Maricopa County, according to data from the Arizona Department of Economic Security.

In fiscal year 2023, there were more than 17,500 individual reports of elder abuse in Maricopa County. That’s up from 14,700 in fiscal year 2022.

In a statement, Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchel said that the elder community is often a target because of their vulnerability.

Nationally, about one in 10 people over the age of 60 have experienced some type of elder abuse. Elder abuse can take on many forms, from physical and psychological abuse by a spouse, adult child or roommate to financial exploitation or neglect.

According to the National Council on Aging, in roughly 60% of elder abuse and neglect incidents, the perpetrator is a family member.

KJZZ senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.