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Southern Illinois excels in responding to elder abuse

The Illinois Congress and Gov. Rod Blagojevich have enacted a law that helps to protect elder citizens of Illinois by requiring elder abuse services to be maintained 24/7. The Department on Aging runs a 24 hour hotline but situations of elder abuse are more often reported locally and those hotlines are often unavailable during nights and weekends. In southern Illinois, however, 13 counties represented by the Shawnee Alliance for Seniors have maintained round-the-clock access for almost two decades. The Shawnee Alliance helps elders with issues ranging from risk of physical harm to financial exploitation. The number of calls to the southern Illinois hotline have risen every year with 775 calls in 2006. In the southern Illinois region, 14% of each 1,000 residents have reported or been victims of elder abuse.

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