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Newsroom SRS announces new adult abuse prevention and awareness campaign

Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services Secretary Phyllis Gilmore announced a new campaign Friday that will focus on protection of adults who are vulnerable to abuse or neglect.

Elderly or disabled adults can be targets for physical or financial abuse or neglect from caretakers. SRS is responsible for receiving reports of abuse or neglect and investigating those claims. 

“It’s a tragedy that often times the most vulnerable in our society are abused or taken advantage of,” said Secretary Gilmore. “Our goal is to educate fellow Kansans about the signs of abuse and what they can do to prevent or stop it from occurring.”

Signs of adult abuse include bruises, or other physical marks, saying someone hurt them, drastic loss in weight, increased depression or isolation, and new problems paying bills or for medications.

From July 1, 2011 to March 30, 2012 there were 11,154 reports of alleged abuse, neglect or exploitation of an adult. Of those, 7,632 were assigned for follow-up by an SRS social worker. 

In the course of six stakeholder meetings held around the state earlier this year, SRS found many Kansans are not aware of  protection services designed for adults who are susceptible to abuse or neglect. Through brochures, bookmarks and other printed material, as well as presentations from SRS staff to long-term care facilities, law enforcement, medical practitioners, and county attorneys, the agency hopes to grow understanding of the unique factors of adult abuse and neglect. 

“Our overall goal is for everyone to know they have a part in helping ensure our vulnerable adults are protected, that they get support and resources they need,” Gilmore said. “With the number of Baby Boomers aging, and resources dwindling, our role to go out there and assist folks is even more important than it’s ever been.“

The campaign will distribute Adult Protective Services book marks and brochures statewide. In addition, SRS is coordinating adult abuse prevention presentations statewide to raise awareness among nursing homes, retirement facilities, law enforcement organizations, medical professionals and other groups. 

To request an Adult Protection Services presentation for your organization, please call Leslie Huss, APS Program Manager, at (785) 368-8105. 

To report suspected abuse of an adult, please call the Protection Report Center at (800) 922-5330.