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Elder Abuse Cases: Proposed Performance Measures for Courts

NCJ Number
Brenda K. Uekert Ph.D.; Susan Keilitz J.D.
Date Published
May 2012
58 pages
This document proposes to raise court awareness of the problem of elder abuse and to provide guidance on how the court can best address these types of cases.
This document provides eight performance measures that call into question current court practices that treat elder abuse as just another crime. Each measure and its corresponding guidance is summarized along with detailed instructions on the collection, analysis, presentation and interpretation of data. The eight performance measures are as follows: the court should expedite cases in which elder abuse is an underlying factor; the court should avoid unnecessary continuances and delays in elder abuse cases; the court should provide a supportive environment for older victims, witnesses and defendants and provide physical accommodations as needed; the court should encourage the timely payment of restitution to older victims; the court should require active supervision of those convicted of elder abuse crimes; and the court should strive to enhance offender compliance by ordering court review hearings. Ancillary cases involving the same older victim should be consolidated to create a consistent, efficient and therapeutic outcome. A single judge, preferably trained in elder abuse, should handle all hearings of a particular elder abuse case to promote consistency and decisionmaking. The application of performance measures to elder abuse cases should be viewed as an opportunity for courts to address a growing problem and to consider proactive strategies that will improve the experiences of older persons.

Date Published: May 1, 2012