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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 21, 2006

Hawai'i's rate of investigation falls short

 •  Law makes it hard to protect Isles' seniors

By Rob Perez
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawai'i's rate of investigating only half the calls received the past two years falls well short of the national average.

In 2004, roughly 75 percent of calls received in the majority of states were investigated, based on calling data from 32 states and investigation totals from 29, according to the National Adult Protective Services Association. Those are the most comprehensive numbers available.

Joanne Marlatt Otto, the association's executive director, said comparing Hawai'i's rate to the national number would be difficult because of differences from state to state. "It's hard to say if that number (in Hawai'i) is high, low or average," Otto said.

But Lori Stiegel of the American Bar Association said Hawai'i's rate indicates a clear disconnect between people calling in concerns about suspected abuse and what the law permits the state to investigate. "That's guaranteed to cause frustration," she said.

Reach Rob Perez at rperez@honoluluadvertiser.com.