PLAINFIELD — As a result of our current situation, some people are forced to stay in dangerous situations because they have nowhere else to go.

State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is reminding people the importance of reporting suspected abuse, neglect and exploitation of all people — but especially those who may not be able to speak up on their own, including older adults and people with disabilities.

“Victims of abuse can be too afraid to report on their own, or do not have the means to do so,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It’s up to everyone to be aware of the signs of abuse and keep an eye on neighbors, customers, and our loved ones.”

Alongside the Illinois Department on Aging, Bertino-Tarrant is advocating to protect seniors and adults with disabilities from abuse. The three-year campaign — pegged as Engage2Change — received a $2.1 million grant from the federal Administration for Community Living.

Through the use of television, email marketing and other digital platforms, the campaign will focus on educating people about the signs of abuse and encouraging them to do their part to prevent future problems.

“People who suspect abuse should report it immediately,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We need to ensure those who need help get it as soon as possible.”

People who are victims of abuse, neglect or financial exploitation — or know someone who is a victim — are encouraged to call the Department on Aging’s 24-hour abuse hotline at 866-800-1409, or visit illinois.gov/aging/engage. Trained professionals are available to take reports of suspected abuse and forward them to local adult protective service agencies.

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