December 10, 2018

New Project on Elder Abuse Fatality Review Teams

Lori Stiegel

U.S. Department of Justice Funds Commission on Law and Aging to Enhance and Evaluate the Capacity of Elder Abuse Fatality Review Teams to Improve Victim Services

Elder Abuse Fatality Review Teams (EAFRTs or teams) are unique among cross-agency collaborations that seek to meet the needs of elder abuse victims because they examine deaths of individuals that may be caused by or related to elder abuse for the purpose of identifying system gaps and improving victim services.

In 2001, the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) funded the Commission on Law and Aging (Commission) to provide seed funding to the earliest EAFRTs and publish a replication manual. Subsequently the Commission funded a few more teams, using grant monies awarded by the U.S. Administration on Aging, through its National Center on Elder Abuse.

Since then, numerous EAFRTs have been established and interest in these teams remains high. Now a new grant from OVC is enabling the Commission to build upon the foundational investments in the EAFRT model by (1) updating and expanding its initial capacity building work and (2) evaluating the impact of EAFRTs on victim services.

The Commission is collaborating with Dr. Jason Burnett of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), who will lead the program evaluation activities. Staff are establishing an expert panel to advise the project. Staff from the Commission and from UTHealth will:

• inventory EAFRTs;

• identify key informants and collect an array of team information from them;

• identify and survey team members about the impact of EAFRT participation;

• provide technical assistance and training activities;

• facilitate information-sharing through an EAFRT webpage, listserve, and multiple interactive web-based meetings;

• collect, content-analyze, and catalogue team documents;

• update and expand the 2005 replication manual;

• evaluate whether the EAFRTs’ work has led to changes in laws, policies, practices, programs, or protocols improving services for victims of elder abuse.

In addition to disseminating products and evaluation findings through the webpage, listserve, and web-based meetings, staff will provide two conference presentations and one webinar, and produce a brief article in a non-peer reviewed publication, a fact sheet or infographic on EAFRTs and their impact, and at least one scholarly article that will be published in a peer-reviewed journal after the end of the one-year grant project.

The Commission is honored to have received one of eight awards that OVC made under its Field Generated Innovations in Addressing Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation program.

For more information about that OVC program and the seven other grantees, see the Department of Justice’s October 20th press release at https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-invests-342-million-fightagainst-elder-abuse-and-financialexploitation.