Minnesota's senior population is on the rise and with it we are seeing an increase in cases of elder abuse. Elder abuse is the mistreatment, neglect or exploitation of an older, vulnerable person, as defined by Minnesota law. The abuse or maltreatment typically occurs at home or in a residential facility, and at the hands of a loved one or caregiver. The issue is a major focus of the Anoka County Attorney's Office. In 2012, this office founded the Minnesota Stop Abuse & Financial Exploitation (S.A.F.E.) Elders Initiative. The program aimed to reduce elder abuse through training, policy and education. To that end, the S.A.F.E. Initiative members -- a coalition of community and law enforcement partners -- created and distributed a Minnesota-focused informational toolkit and video.
The S.A.F.E. Elders Initiative later merged with a group called the Vulnerable Adult Justice Project. The new nonprofit collaboration is known as the Minnesota Elder Justice Center. While these efforts have helped, and have paved the way for more progress, elder abuse continues to be under-reported.