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Association Between Statutory Penalties and Domestic Elder Abuse Investigations

NCJ Number
212780
Journal
Journal of Crime and Justice Volume: 28 Issue: 2 Dated: 2005 Pages: 51-69
Author(s)
Gerald J. Jogerst; Jeanette M. Daly; Margaret F. Brinig; Stephanos Bibas
Date Published
2005
Length
19 pages
Annotation
This study evaluated the relationship of criminal penalties (misdemeanor or felony) for the infliction of abuse on the rates of reported, investigated, and substantiated domestic elder abuse in the United States.
Abstract
Penalties in Adult Protective Services (APS) related legislation are designated for actual infliction of abuse, failure to report abuse, and false reports of abuse. The penalties are either civil or criminal. Criminal penalties are either misdemeanors and/or felonies. This study evaluated the relationship of criminal penalties for the infliction of abuse listed in APS legislation on the rates of reported, investigated, and substantiated domestic elder abuse in the United States and the District of Columbia. The results imply that persons residing in States with felony penalties (for elder abuse) would perceive the penalties are severe and be deterred from the abuse. In summary, States that have a penalty of felony for committing abuse and higher imprisonment days, track reports of abuse allegations, have mandatory reporters, and have more words in their statute abuse definitions are predictive of higher investigation rates. In addition, States with felony treatment of elder abuse with higher fines and longer imprisonment terms that track reports of abuse allegations, and that have more words in the statutory abuse definitions have a higher substantiation rates. Tables, references