Since Adult Protective Services (APS) agencies are often first responders in cases of elder abuse, the current study examined the use of APS case data as an alternative measure in monitoring the scope of this problem in planning for effective responses to elder abuse as the U.S. population ages.
Elder abuse, mistreatment, and neglect (EAMN) refers to a range of civil and criminal violations committed against elderly victims by caregivers, family members, or others in trusted positions. The current study, sponsored by the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), had five objectives. One objective was to collaborate with stakeholders and experts across the elder justice field in developing a set of key indicators on which APS staff should collect data for each reported case of EAMN. A second objective was to conduct telephone interviews with each state’s APS representative to determine locations, level of centralization, and coverage of APS administrative data. A third objective was to develop a taxonomy for counting incidents of elder abuse, distinguishing between criminal and noncriminal elder abuse. A fourth objective was to administer a web-based online survey to assess APS administrative data on EAMN cases and compare data categories across jurisdictions. The fifth objective was to develop an understanding of APS agencies’ current practices related to detecting, reporting, and collecting data on alleged cases of EAMN and facilitate data aggregation and interpretation. The reported findings indicate both potential for and challenges to compiling APS elder abuse statistics across states because of variations in elder abuse laws, agencies’ investigative jurisdictions, and data system capacity. 21 figures, 2 tables, and 32 references