This article describes the many ways in which the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) is working to improve the Nation's response to elder abuse.
Through activities in the areas of research, victims' services, and statistical reports, OJP intends to ensure that criminal justice, medical, and social service professionals have the information they need to serve elderly individuals. Among OJP's research efforts through the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) are patterns of bruising in the elderly; the sexual abuse of elderly persons; factors that affect the determination of elderly abuse as a cause of death in older persons; and detecting, addressing, and preventing elder abuse in residential care facilities. Summaries are provided for these and other NIJ research on mistreatment of the elderly. Another area of OJP activity on behalf of elderly victims is the development of curricula on elder abuse for a range of professionals. These curricula target health care professionals, law enforcement professionals, and probation and parole officers. Training videos have been developed on responding to domestic violence and sexual assault against older women. OJP's efforts to develop multidisciplinary responses to elder abuse include support for the Texas Elder Abuse and Mistreatment Institute in Houston, TX, which is a partnership among adult protective services, the medical community, law enforcement, and the county attorney in responding to elder abuse and neglect. Another OJP-funded project is designed to enhance the development of multidisciplinary elder abuse fatality review teams. OJP's Bureau of Justice Statistics has produced several reports with information on crimes against the elderly. A summary of each of the three reports is provided. 3 references