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Evaluating the Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2015
5 pages
Publication Series
This article summarizes the methodology and findings of an evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of the Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center (EAFC), which features a multidisciplinary professional team that reviews cases of elder abuse and addresses systemic issues in the criminal justice system that impede and impair the successful prosecution of such cases.
The evaluation found that when compared with the traditional processing of such cases by the county's Adult Protective Services (APS) agency, the EAFC was more effective in increasing their prosecution, promoting safety through conservatorship where appropriate, and in reducing recurrence once a case has been closed. Although the operation of the EAFC was significantly more expensive than the traditional procedures for the APS' addressing of such cases, the evaluation considered it to be more cost effective when considering the human and financial costs of elder abuse. These costs include the risk of premature death, illness due to the abuse/neglect, the treatment of abuse-related injuries, and the increased likelihood of nursing-home and hospital expenses. The estimates are that more than 5 million people (1 in 10 persons over 60 years old) will experience neglect, financial exploitation, emotional mistreatment, physical abuse, and/or sexual abuse. The cost of elder abuse per year runs in billions of dollars and immeasurable physical and emotional suffering for victims. This evaluation thus concludes that the Los Angeles County EAFC is cost effective; however, the issue is whether society is willing to pay the additional cost per case compared to the traditional, less expensive, but significantly less effective processing of elder abuse cases.

Date Published: December 1, 2015