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United States Department of Justice's Elder Abuse Initiatives

NCJ Number
Journal of Federal Law and Practice Volume: 66 Issue: 7 Dated: December 2018 Pages: 3-30
Laura Ivkovich; Andy Mao; Carrie Mulford .
Date Published
December 2018
28 pages
This article identifies and describes three of the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ's) initiatives to counter elder abuse.
It first highlights the range of research, statistics, and evaluation projects the DOJ's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has sponsored. NIJ has established a research program that focuses on the issue of elder abuse to assist the field in its response to the current and emerging needs of the elderly population. Key findings are presented from NIJ's research on the prevalence, risk factors, and consequences of elder abuse. NIJ research findings are also presented on forensic markers of elder abuse, the evaluation of interventions, tool development for researchers and practitioners, financial exploitation, and elder mistreatment in residential care facilities. Research challenges in these areas are also discussed. In addition to describing NIJ's research related to elder abuse, this article reviews DOJ's Bureau of Justice Statistics' (BJS') statistical documentation of elder abuse in the United States. A BJS special report by BJS on crimes against the elderly provides statistics on violent and nonviolent criminal activities against adults ages 65 and older over the decade between 2003 and 2013. Overall, the rate of non-fatal criminal victimization among the elderly is the lowest of any age group (3.6 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 65 or older). Other BJS statistics related to elder abuse are also reported in this article. A third DOJ agency involved in countering elder abuse is the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). OVC has launched a free, online elder abuse training program for legal-service lawyers, so as to assist them in developing knowledge and skills in recognizing the signs of elder abuse.