Knox County District Attorney General - Charme P. Allen

Tennessee is Talking About Elder Abuse

Posted: 06/08/2018Feature Photo

Elder abuse is widespread. Every year an estimated 1 in 10 older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture: Experts believe that elder abuse is significantly under-reported, in part because so many of our communities lack the social supports that would make it easier for those who experience abuse to report it. Research suggests that as few as 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse come to the attention of authorities. 

In 2014, District Attorney General Charme Allen assembled the first specialized prosecution unit for elder abuse in the State of Tennessee. One of the first steps the unit took was establishing the Vulnerable Adult Protection Investigative Team (VAPIT). This team brings together prosecution, law enforcement, and adult protective services to review reports of elder abuse. Additionally, a federal grant has allowed for more community education. Prosecutors in the Elder Abuse Unit provide elder abuse training to law enforcement officers through the grant. Because of this community concerted effort, the number of reported cases of elder abuse has drastically increased, as well as the number of abusers who are being held accountable.  

When we come together, we can prevent elder abuse from happening. We can put support services in place, and direct community resources toward addressing elder abuse. 

The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations (UN) launched the first World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15, 2006 in an effort to unite communities around the world in raising awareness about elder abuse. WEAAD serves as a call-to-action for our communities to raise awareness about abuse, neglect, and exploitation of elders, and reaffirm our country’s commitment to the principle of justice for all. Will you join us?

There are many ways to get involved in strengthening our communities and preventing elder abuse. Will you join us?

  1. Talk about it! TNDAGC has partnered with the Tennessee Department of Human Services and Tennessee Voices for Victims to encourage Tennesseans to talk about elder abuse. Click on the following link to find videos and graphics to share with friends and family.
  2. Report it!  Tennessee state law requires reporting of suspected abuse of a vulnerable or elderly adult, but many Tennesseans are embarrassed to talk about this sensitive subject. Report elder abuse by calling 1-888-APS-TENN (277-8366) or visiting
  3. HelpOut! We can all play a role in protecting vulnerable populations in our community. Do you have someone in your family who is a caregiver for an elderly person or vulnerable adult? Help by providing respite for caregivers or volunteer with an organization that works with these vulnerable populations to prevent isolation and provide support. Check out volunteer opportunities listed on Volunteer East Tennessee’s website,



City County Building 400 Main Street
Suite 168
Knoxville, TN 37902