A new task force from the district attorney's office has taken aim at the abusers of elderly people and other adults who are vulnerable.
Since January, Davidson County Assistant District Attorney Ardie Griffin and a task force involving law enforcement and Adult Protective Services (APS) has reviewed 550 cases of complaints filed. They're meeting again on Thursday to look over another 188 cases.
"Abuse can be physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse," said Griffin. "All of those referrals that the adult protective services received here in Davidson County. We review all of them to learn if there are any criminal allegations alleged in the referral."
Griffin said abusers are often times family members, neighbors, friends or healthcare providers. She said the closeness of the victims and their abusers is what causes the problem.
"We're not just taking that stranger off the street," Griffin said. "We're taking that person that supposedly cares about them and is taking care of them. So, if we take away that individual, who is left to provide for them?"
NewsChannel 5 talked with a victim of abuse who is nearly 80 years old. She said a friend of hers attacked her in her home for prescription medication which she was prescribed.
"She was beating me in the head and head my head was hitting the floor. My face, where she put the bag, it was a plastic bag, she had that around my throat to choke me to death," said the victim.
The victim was left on the floor unconscious. When she came to her son took her to the hospital where doctors called police. The ADA has now charged a suspect in the case with attempted murder.
The District Attorney's office also works with groups like FiftyForward, an organization aimed at improving the lives of the elderly.
Griffin said she believes the number of elderly abused is much higher than what is reported because many people do not know APS exists. Also, the population of elderly is growing because the baby boomers are reaching the age of 65 years or older.
Griffin said the best way to get help is to call the APS. Their number is 888-277-8366.