Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Vulnerable Adult Initiative: Final Report 2008

Community Awareness and Training Work Group

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The Community Awareness and Training Work Group took on the following issues identified at the June summit:

  • Members of the general public have a difficult time accurately identifying the abuse of vulnerable adults.
  • When abuse is suspected, information is not readily available about how to report it.
  • Physicians are failing to recognize the signs of abuse in vulnerable adults.
  • Victims’ families need more information about how to access available services.
  • The public has a lack of awareness of domestic violence in later life.
  • Self-reporting of abuse is difficult or impossible for vulnerable adults.


1) Develop a curriculum to educate gatekeepers. Gatekeepers — those in the best positions to recognize victims — must be identified and given uniform training. Training should provide information about how to identify abuse and how to report it. Easy- to-access materials should be created and distributed to gatekeepers. This work group is developing a PowerPoint presentation for wide distribution.

2) Educational flyers should be developed and distributed to the public via multiple channels, including:

a) Inside utility bills;
b) At food banks;
c) Posted in public restrooms;
d) In apartment complexes and low-income housing projects and;
e) In doctors’ offices.

3) Create public service announcements to run statewide. In order to increase general awareness about how to identify and report the abuse of vulnerable adults, PSAs should be funded and produced for distribution to local television, radio stations and print and online publications. PSAs should be divided into modules addressing financial exploitation, domestic violence and self-neglect.

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