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Multi-Site Assessment of Five Court-Focused Elder Abuse Initiatives, Executive Summary

NCJ Number
Lori A. Stiegel, J.D.; Pamela B. Teaster, Ph.D.
Date Published
June 2010
8 pages
Findings and methodology are summarized from an evaluation of five court-focused elder abuse initiatives (the only ones existing at the time of the study), defined by the researchers as "a court or a court-based program or a program conducted in partnership with a court, both of which serve victims or potential victims of elder abuse."
The five programs are the Elder Protection Court (EPC) in Alameda County, CA; the Elder Justice Center (EJC) in Hillsborough County, FL; the In-Home Emergency Protective Order Initiative (IEPOI) in Jefferson County, KY; and the Elder Temporary Order of Protection Project (ETOP) in Kings County, NY; and the "Elder Justice Center (EJC) in Palm Beach County, FL. The evaluation's goal was to determine how these initiatives handle elder abuse cases and whether they improve the criminal justice response to elder abuse. The evaluation's standards for measuring the quality of the five programs were derived from the American Bar Association's (ABA's) "Recommended Guidelines for State Courts Handling Cases Involving Elder Abuse" and the Bureau of Justice Assistance's (BJA's) "Trial Court Performance Standards With Commentary," as adapted to elder abuse by researchers at Florida International University (FIU). The current evaluation found that the five initiatives accomplished 87.5 percent of the ABA recommended guidelines (21 of 24) and 100 percent of the FIU standards (15 of 15). Each of the initiatives improved access to justice for elder-abuse victims, albeit in varying ways and to varying degrees. The evaluation concluded that each initiative does far more to meet the goals of the ABA guidelines and the FIU standards than courts and communities without court-focused elder-abuse initiatives. Details are presented on the features of each of the five initiatives. The evaluation's methodology consisted of a literature review, surveys and interviews of key stakeholders, case file reviews, and site visits. Recommendations are offered for future research.