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An Elder Abuse Study Impacts How Law Enforcement Work Their Cases - Interview at the 2009 NIJ Conference

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2009
4 pages
This video and transcript cover an interview with Aileen Wiglesworth (Assistant Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at the University of California, Irvine) and Cherie Hill (a detective in the Anaheim Police Department) at the 2009 NIJ Conference, in which they discuss how an elder abuse study has impacted how law enforcement investigators work these cases.
Hill begins the interview with a review of how her perspective on the investigative possibilities associated with the physical abuse of elderly persons has evolved. Her initial view was that an investigation would stall if the elderly victim claimed that visible bruises were the result of an accident rather than physical abuse. This perspective changed when she became aware of the results of research on bruise patterns conducted by Aileen Wiglesworth. The research included a focus on the differences between the location of bruises on the body in accidents and in assaults. It determined that bruises on the face, the arms, and the posterior torso are more likely to be the result of physical abuse than an accidental fall or bumping into an object. The research also determined that individuals who had been physically abused were more likely to remember the event that caused the bruises compared with those who were bruised from a fall. Hill explains how these research findings can be applied in the investigation of cases that involve elder physical abuse.

Date Published: June 1, 2009