May is National Elder Law Month, and elder abuse is something Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn takes very seriously.

In a press conference Wednesday, District Attorney Quinn says elder abuse cases are some of the most difficult to prosecute, especially if the victim is suffering from dementia or a similar condition.

Quinn says while people can be prosecuted for financial abuse of an elder, it's not often the victim is completely compensated. "Unfotunately in these cases, if the money is taken, it's highly unlikely they're going to get it back because these people are using drugs, they have maybe limited financial means, gambling, credit card debt, etcetera," says Quinn.

Quinn says many elder folks fall victim to over-the-phone scams, adding that his own father was nearly ready to mail a money order to the IRS when the District Attorney intervened and told him the IRS does not contact people by phone. "A few days later, I called him up and said, 'This is the IRS, I'm looking for a check.' So he abruptly said, 'The IRS doesn't communicate by phone. Where are you calling from?' So the prevention worked."

Elder abuse can come in the form of physical, sexual, and financial.

Quinn says his office has formed an Elder Abuse Unit, and frequently visits councils on aging throughout Bristol County to inform elders of their rights.

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