Below you’ll find information about, and resources for, some specific crime types that are handled by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.
For specific resources in your area, call 2-1-1 Arizona by dialing 211 or by visiting www.211arizona.org.
Vulnerable Adult/Elder Abuse
It can be very difficult to recognize, accept and take action regarding abuse when it is happening to you or a loved one. The suspected abuse may be taking place in a licensed care facility or by a family member or friend. You or your loved one may not be able to reach out to anyone with the details of what is taking place, which may be because of physical or mental impairments, embarrassment, or shame. Regardless, the abuser is counting on your or your loved one’s infirmity, reluctance to disclose the abuse, or fear of the abuser’s retaliation, to keep the abuse a secret.
There are four types of Vulnerable Adult/Elder Abuse:
- Psychological abuse is a pattern of ridiculing or demeaning, making derogatory remarks, verbally harassing or threatening.
- Physical abuse refers to the intentional infliction of any bodily harm or injury, or physical conditions that endanger the individual’s health or welfare.
- Financial exploitation includes the misappropriation of finances or the theft of money, property, or possessions, which includes “conning” and extortion.
- Neglect is a pattern of conduct in which a person fails to provide at least minimal care for another person in their care. Neglect differs from abuse in that it is a failure to take action rather than taking action against an older person.
Facts about Abuse
Understanding some reasons why abuse takes place may help you to understand your or your loved one’s victimization.
- Approximately 1 in 10 Americans over 60 years of age have been victimized in some way. Only 1 in 14 cases are reported.(1)
- Almost 60% of elder abuse perpetrators are family members.(1)
- Social isolation and mental impairment are some factors that make elder adults vulnerable to mistreatment.(1)
- Elder Financial Abuse costs victims approximately $36.5 billion per year.(1)
- Elder Mistreatment most commonly occurs in the home or facility where the elder adult is living.(2)
- Most victims are dependent on their abuser for basic needs.(2)
Signs of Abuse
There are signs that may be indicative of abuse. This is not a comprehensive list, and you or your loved one may have experienced different types of mistreatment; however, these are some common signs of abuse.
- Bruises, welts, bed sores, fractured/broken bones, cuts, etc.
- Signs of physical restraint
- Withdrawal from normal activities, strained relationships, arguments between the elder and the caregiver, depression, etc.
- Sudden changes in financial situations
- Unattended medical needs, poor hygiene/dental hygiene, unusual weight loss
- Soiled clothing or bedding
- Lack of necessities (food, water, medications, bathroom assistance)
Though you may not be the direct victim of abuse, you may find yourself deeply affected by what has happened to your loved one. You may find yourself avoiding the problem. Once you are certain some type of mistreatment is taking place, you may feel different emotions, like anger, depression, etc. Keep in mind that the victim, your loved one, is likely feeling the same things, perhaps even more intensely. These feelings should resolve in time for both of you; however, if you or the victim find yourselves unable to move beyond the intense emotions you feel, it would be a good idea to take advantage of some of the resources listed later in this document to help.
What You Can Do
If you or your loved one may be a victim of any type of Elder Mistreatment, you can start by reporting your suspicions to Arizona Adult Protective Services (AAPS). AAPS investigates situations involving allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation of incapacitated or vulnerable adults who are unable, by their own resourcefulness, to protect their person, rights, welfare, and/or interests. Describe for them any/all attempts you or your loved one has made to intervene (reporting to the facility’s administrator, etc.) and the outcomes. If necessary, submit your report in writing.
What We Can Do
If your case is being investigated or prosecuted by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, the Office of Victim Services (OVS) may assist you or your loved one in several ways to cope with the emotional ramifications of victimization, the complexities of criminal investigations, as well as the criminal justice system.
Your concerns may lead to an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office or another law enforcement agency. An OVS advocate will be assigned to your case to guide you through the investigative process, as well as keep you apprised of the case status.
If your concerns result in a criminal prosecution after investigation, you may find that the prosecution process is a new and intimidating environment. To assist you and your loved one, OVS advocates will keep you updated, in writing or by phone, about the status of the case. You or your loved one will be informed of scheduled court proceedings, the outcome of those hearings, and your rights in the judicial process.
Some victims find it helpful to be actively involved as their cases are being investigated or prosecuted. Case updates and notifications from the Office of Victim Services, as well as the advocates themselves, can enable you and your loved one to participate to the extent you desire.
If you decide to seek professional help to cope with emotional problems resulting from the crime, or you are in need of help with other eligible expenses resulting from the victimization (medical care, emergency relocation, etc.), the OVS advocate may refer you to the Victim Compensation Program and help you with applying for compensation monies. For more information about Victim Compensation, you may contact your advocate or visit http://azcjc.gov/ACJC.Web/victim/VictComp.aspx.
Resources to Help You
Taskforce Against Senior Abuse (TASA)
1-800-352-8432 (Toll Free)
Area Agency on Aging (Pima County)
8467 East Broadway
Tucson, AZ 85710
Area Agency on Aging (Maricopa County)
1366 E. Thomas Rd., Suite 108
Phoenix, AZ 85014
Adult Protective Services
- 1 https://www.ncoa.org/public-policy-action/elder-justice/elder-abuse-facts/
- 2 https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-elder-abuse
Fraud & Financial Crimes
Fraud is an umbrella term for many types of financial crimes. Fraud victims are of all ages, genders, races, and classes. Victims of financial crimes often feel the same pain and emotions that victims of violent crimes do; however, this is not accepted as easily because there is no physical injury. Some of the emotions faced by victims of fraud are:
- Blaming others
- Self-blame, shame, guilt
- Anger, retaliation
Types of Financial Crimes
- Identity Theft: the fraudulent use of a person’s information or identity. There are different types of identity theft, including financial, governmental, medical, and criminal.
- Embezzlement: theft or misappropriation of money belonging to a trust or a business.
- Mortgage Fraud: intentionally misrepresenting or omitting information on a mortgage loan application in order to obtain a loan, or to obtain a larger loan than would be possible if the lender knew the truth.
- Financial Fraud/Scams: emails/phone calls/other communication presenting fraudulent information in order to gain money from an unsuspecting victim (ex. Emails from abroad, lottery winner calls, fake investment opportunities, etc.).
- Securities Fraud: (aka stock fraud or investment fraud) getting a victim to invest money on the basis of false information, resulting in loss of money.
Should your victimization result in a criminal case through the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, and there is a conviction on your case, you may be awarded Restitution. Restitution is when the defendant makes payments, through the Clerk of Court, to you in order to repay your losses. Keep in mind that this is not ordered in every case. The Arizona Attorney General’s Office of Victim Services monitors many restitution cases. For more information about restitution, visit https://www.azag.gov/victim-services/victim-compensation-restitution or http://www.azcourts.gov/restitution.
What We Can Do
If you or a loved one is a victim of a financial crime, it may be investigated and/or prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office. If this is the case, a victim advocate from the Attorney General’s Office of Victim Services (OVS) will be assigned to your case. The advocate will assist you in several ways to cope with the emotional ramifications of victimization, the complexities of criminal investigations, as well as the criminal justice system.
The OVS advocate assigned to your case will keep you updated, by phone or in writing, of the status of your case. You will be informed of scheduled court proceedings, the outcome of those hearings, and your rights in the judicial process.
Some victims find it helpful to be actively involved as their cases are being investigated or prosecuted. Case updates and notifications from the Office of Victim Service, as well as the advocates themselves, can enable you to participate to the extent you require.
Keep in mind that, while OVS advocates are here to help, much of the recovery needed after a financial crime must be done by the victims themselves.
Resources to Help You
Identity Theft Repair Kit
Federal Trade Commission (ID Theft, Scam Alerts, Credit Reports, etc.)
Identify Theft Resource Center
Federal Trade Commission—ID Theft
Internal Revenue Service
Toll-Free Anti-Fraud Hotline
Financial Fraud Checklists
Losing a loved one through homicide is one of the most traumatic experiences anyone could face. The trauma may be exacerbated by the intricacies of the criminal justice system. There is no single way to deal with the death of a loved one; however, keep in mind that mourning your loved one is an important part of healing. The stages of grief, though not linear, are common feelings that many victims experience.
- Shock: Commonly described as feeling numb, tired, or weak. This should pass and will be replaced by other emotions.
- Denial & Isolation: Initially, many victims refuse to face the reality of the situation. This is temporary reaction that buffers the immediate reaction to the loss. Many victims also block out people and things around them, in order to avoid the situation.
- Anger & Retaliation: While this anger may not always be aimed at the perpetrator, many victims feel the desire to strike back at the perpetrator. Anger is a normal part of grieving, and you may feel anger for many different reasons. It is important to not keep this anger inside—talk to someone, either a friend or loved one or a professional.
- Guilt & Bargaining: Often, many victims think that, if they had only done something differently, their loved one would still be alive. Many victims blame themselves, when the blame does not lie with them.
- Depression: Many victims feel sadness and regret as they deal with having to say goodbye to a loved one. It is important to talk to family and friends to relieve some of this sadness.
- Acceptance: Not every victim reaches this stage. This is not necessarily happiness or normalcy, rather a period of calm. This is when many victims make their peace with the loss of a loved one.
Understand that grieving is a process, and it varies in length of time depending on the victim. Be patient with yourself. There is no single solution for coping with a loss; however, these and other tips may be helpful.
- The basics: eat regularly, get enough sleep, and exercise.
- Some victims find that staying busy (visiting friends, reading, etc.) helps keep their mind off the tragedy.
- Keep a diary: many counselors suggest writing your feelings and thoughts down in order to release them.
- Remember that self-care is very important.
- If, in the time after the loss, you do not feel yourself grieving or improving, it may be a good idea to seek professional assistance.
- Some victims benefit from community-based support groups and talking with others who have similar experiences.
What We Can Do
If your case is being investigated or prosecuted by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, the Office of Victim Services (OVS) may assist you in several ways to cope with the emotional ramifications of your victimization, as well as the complexities of the criminal justice system.
Should your case be investigated and/or prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office, an advocate will be assigned to your case. This advocate can help you in many ways. He or she will keep you updated, by phone or in writing, of the case status, walk you through the criminal justice system, as well as make referrals to outside resources if necessary.
Some victims find it helpful to be actively involved as the case is being investigated or prosecuted. Case updates and notifications from the Office of Victim Services, as well as the advocates themselves, can enable you to participate to the extent you require.
Resources to Help You
Crisis Response Network 24 hour Hotline
1-800-631-1314 (Central AZ)
TTY 1-800-327-9254 (Central AZ)
1-877-756-4090 (Northern AZ)
Homicide Survivors, Inc.
Parents of Murdered Children
Child Physical & Sexual Abuse
Child abuse is an unfortunate common occurrence in the United States. It is important that we, as adults, act as advocates for children, as they are unable to advocate for themselves. There are two forms of child abuse: physical and sexual. There are signs of both that can indicate that there is abuse occurring.
Signs of Physical Abuse
- Changes in behavior
- Depression, anxiety, loss of self-confidence
- Lack of supervision
- Absences from school
- Unexplained injuries
- Untreated medical conditions
Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Age-inappropriate sexual behavior or knowledge
- Pain in genital area
- Sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy
- Sleeping disorders
- Difficulty with urination
- Stomach aches
- Unexplained bruises
It is important, both to the children and to the other family members this may effect, to not have any embarrassment or reluctance in discussing this serious matter.
What You Can Do
- Keep your initial reaction neutral. The reactions of people close to the child are important factors in determining how the child will cope with their victimization. Provide the child with reassurance, comfort, affection and consideration. Be open to your child’s questions and feelings.
- Hide your negative feelings. Watch your comments both to your child and any that your child may overhear. Demands for revenge or threats about the offender may confuse or frighten your child. Be careful not to make your child feel like he or she is “ruined” because of their abuse.
- Don’t add to your child’s guilt. This is not the time for a lecture. Avoid accusatory statements. Keep in mind that your child did not ask to be victimized. Do not punish you child or make him or her feel responsible for the abuse. Also, do not blame yourself. The offender is the only person responsible.
- Be careful not to create fear. Let your child know in simple terms that what the offender did was wrong. If your child exhibits inappropriate behaviors (sexual, rage, etc.), help them understand what is and is not appropriate.
- Respect your child’s privacy. Whom you and your child tell about what happened is strictly up to you and your child. Many families find that it is helpful for immediate family to be told so they can provide needed support and understanding. It is also important to report the incident to the law enforcement agency in your area.
- Consider seeking professional help. Therapists who specialize in helping child victims of physical or sexual abuse are available. Use resources later in this document to help find someone to talk to. You may be eligible for Victim Compensation to reimburse you for any counseling; consult your advocate for more information, or visit http://azcjc.gov/ACJC.Web/victim/VictComp.aspx.
What We Can Do
If your case is being investigated or prosecuted by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, the Office of Victim Services (OVS) may assist you and your child in several ways to cope with the emotional ramifications of victimization, the complexities of criminal investigations, as well as the criminal justice system.
To assist your family during investigation and/or prosecution, an OVS advocate will be assigned to your case. This advocate will update you, by phone or in writing, about the status of the case. You will be informed of scheduled court proceedings, the outcome of those hearings, and your rights in the judicial process.
Your advocate will also be an important ally in helping your child. It is likely that your child will have to be interviewed by investigators and/or prosecutors in order to build a case. The advocate can help in coordinating interviews and meetings with investigators and prosecutors, as well as accompany your family to these interviews or court proceedings.
Your advocate is also available to provide additional resources to you and your child.
Resources to Help You
National Child Abuse Hotline
Your Life Your Voice
Coping After Victimization
In the aftermath of a crime, violent or not, victims are impacted physically, financially, socially, and emotionally. Each victim’s reaction to his or her victimization will vary; however, there are some common impacts that crime has on victims. Remember that no part of this experience is “normal”, thus there are no “normal” reactions. Keep in mind that your feelings are valid, and there is no “right” way to cope.
The obvious effects of your victimization are the physical injuries you may have suffered. You may experience after-effects of your injuries in the form of other physical symptoms following the crime. These may include:
- Lack of energy
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Heightened sensory awareness
- Skin rashes
- Exaggerated startle reflex
- Weight loss or gain, increased or decreased appetite
At the time of the crime, your money or other possessions may have been taken or your property damaged. You may have expenses stemming from the crime, such as medical expenses or emergency relocation expenses. There are resources that may be available to you to help recover money or help pay expenses, such as Restitution or the Victim Compensation Program.
- Others may respond negatively to your victimization, including your physical, financial and emotional problems.
- You may find yourself withdrawing from family and friends and isolating yourself.
- You may also find yourself becoming disinterested in activities that you previously valued.
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty showing emotion
- Intrusive thoughts
- Mentally reliving the crime
- Forgetfulness or memory lapses
- Inability to make decisions
- Fantasies about harming the offender
There are some common emotions that many victims experience in the aftermath of a crime, and they may come with a lot of questions. Victims experience these emotions differently and may be short or long-term. See the “Tips for Recovery” section later in this document to help deal with some of these emotions and questions.
- Mood swings
Tips for Recovery
It is important, in the aftermath of a crime, to keep your healing process in mind.
- Remain in touch with friends and loved ones. Often, loved ones do not know what to say or how to react after a crime. Because of this, you may feel the need to pull away. You can help the situation by letting your friends and family what you need from them in order for you to cope.
- Return to your regular activities. While there is no timeline for recovery after a crime, it may be helpful for you to maintain as much “normalcy” as possible. If you return to your daily activities little by little, like working, driving, spending time with friends and family, etc., you will begin to regain self-confidence and your emotional equilibrium.
- Get information about your case. You can be as involved as you want to be in your case, with the help of your Victim Advocate. You have the right to be heard at select hearings, confer with the investigator and prosecutor, and attend hearings, among many other things. You may choose to do any or all of these things to promote your healing process.
- Consider seeking professional assistance if things do not seem to be getting better in the weeks following the crime. A strong emotional response to a crime is not unusual; however, if you do not feel that you are healing or are feeling overwhelmed by what has happened, it might be a good idea to consult with an experienced counselor who will be able to assess the severity of your symptoms, provide you with feedback or suggestions, and give appropriate counsel. To find professional assistance, call 211 Arizona at 877-211-8661 for resources.
What We Can Do
Should your case be investigated and/or prosecuted by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, a victim advocate from the Office of Victim Services (OVS) will be assigned to your case. The advocate will notify you, by phone or in writing, of your case status, act as your liaison between you and the investigator/prosecutor, and be your guide through the criminal justice system. The advocate can also refer you to other resources for professional assistance, Victim Compensation, and many other things.
Resources to Help You
24 hour Crisis Line