As New Mexicans prepare to celebrate Father's Day, Governor Susana Martinez is reminding residents that it is our shared responsibility to report suspected abuse,
neglect, or exploitation of adults and elderly residents who are unable to protect
themselves. Governor Susana Martinez issued a proclamation designating June as Adult Abuse Awareness Month, encouraging New Mexicans to call 1-866-654-3219 when they suspect abuse of vulnerable adults and the elderly.
"If you see or suspect an adult is being abused, don't just turn the other way. New Mexico law requires you to report it to Adult Protective Services," said Governor Susana Martinez. "Sometimes neighbors or friends are the only ones who can help an adult victim of abuse or neglect. As we celebrate our fathers this weekend, it's important to remember that our elders count on us to protect them when they are vulnerable."
The New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department investigates allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of adults with incapacities who are age 18 or older through the Adult Protective Services (APS) Division. State law requires anyone who suspects abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an incapacitated adult to report it to APS.
In 2012, APS investigated 5,824 cases of suspected adult abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Sixty three percent of victims were over the age of 60, and more than 24 percent were 80 or older.
APS substantiated 26 percent of investigations conducted in 2012. The majority of adult victims received a service intervention to ensure safety and prevent future abuse, neglect, or exploitation."As New Mexico's population ages, cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation are expected to increase," said Aging and Long-Term Services Cabinet Secretary Gino Rinaldi. "New Mexicans can report suspected cases of abuse by dialing 1-866-654-3219 at any time of the day."
Other facts about Adult Protective Services investigations include:
- Self-neglect, the most frequently reported and substantiated problem, accounted for 50 percent of confirmed reports in fiscal year 2012, followed by caregiver neglect at 24 percent, abuse at 11 percent, and exploitation at 15 percent.
- More than half (57 percent) of victims were women; 43 percent were men.
According to a study funded by the National Institute of Justice, victims of abuse are more than twice as likely to die prematurely and more than four times as likely to be admitted to a nursing home or rehabilitation center.