October 04, 2018

Elder Abuse

Featured Resource

Legal Issues Related to Elder Abuse: Guides for Law Enforcement

With funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Commission has produced three free publications: A Pocket Guide, Desk Guide and Desk Guide Template.

Learn more and download  copies now by visiting the Guides homepage.

Banks Reporting Financial Abuse of the Elderly

Durable Power of Attorney Abuse

Undue Influence

The Brooke Astor Case

Court-Focused Elder Abuse Initiatives

ABA Study Demonstrates Court-Focused Elder Abuse Initiatives Enhance Access to Justice for Victims and Offer Benefits to Courts and Other Agencies

Judges, court administrators, service providers, policymakers, and funders in other communities should give serious consideration to implementing similar efforts.

Legal Issues Related to Elder Abuse: Guides for Law Enforcement

With funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Commission has produced three new free publications:


Pocket Guide
Provides brief explanations of:

  • legal concepts, documents, and tools that may be misused to commit elder abuse or used properly to remedy it, and
  • issues and actions that justice system professionals should consider if they suspect elder abuse has occurred.


Desk Guide
Provides more information about Pocket Guide topics, as well as:

  • tips for communicating with older individuals,
  • the differences between civil and criminal courts,
  • entities that may be involved with elder abuse victims or perpetrators, and
  • additional resources.


Desk Guide Template
Provides a template for state-specific adaptation of the Desk Guide.

Learn more and download or order copies now by visiting the Guides homepage.

Managing Someone Else's Money Guides

Millions of Americans are managing money or property for a loved one who is unable to pay bills or make financial decisions. This can be very overwhelming. But, it’s also a great opportunity to help someone you care about, and protect them from scams and fraud. Here are four easy-to-understand booklets to help financial caregivers. Written by the Commission and published by the CFPB, the guides are for agents under powers of attorney, court-appointed guardians, trustees, and government fiduciaries (Social Security representative payees and VA fiduciaries).

Elder Justice Act

To read the bills and find information about their status in the legislative process and their co-sponsors:

  1. Visit the Library of Congress’ Web site, Congress.gov 
  2. Type the bill number (for the Elder Justice Act, H.R. 3590; for the Elder Abuse Victims Act, Senate – S. 1821; House – H.R. 448) or the words/phrases “Elder Justice Act” or "Elder Abuse Victims Act" into the “Search Bill Text” box on the THOMAS home page
  3. Below the "Search Bill Text" box indicate whether you want to search by bill number or word/phrase
  4. Click on the “Search” button to the right of the “Search Bill Text” box

Background Links

The Judicial System's Role in Cases Involving Elder Abuse

Recommended Guidelines for State Courts Handling Cases Involving Elder Abuse
In 1995, the Commission published Recommended Guidelines for State Courts Handling Cases Involving Elder Abuse, resulting from a nationwide research project funded by the State Justice Institute. Although the print document is no longer available, the report remains pertinent. The full report (except for its state statutory charts – see below for more current and extensive statutory analysis) is provided section by section and may be downloaded at no cost.  

Elder Abuse and the State Courts: Three Curricula for Judges and Court Staff 

This document contains three curricula and a conferees’ manual. By Lori Stiegel (1997).

  • State Judicial Educators and other program planners can use the curricula to guide the development of general and specialized seminars for judges with civil, probate, criminal, or family court jurisdiction and of a related general seminar for court staff. They can use the conferees' manual as a resource for faculty members and as a handout for seminar participants.
  • Faculty members can use the curricula to guide their planning for and presentations at general and specialized seminars for judges with civil, probate, criminal, or family court jurisdiction and related general seminars for court staff. They can also use the conferees' manual as their primary resource document for their presentations. After the program, they may also use the manual as a freestanding deskbook or reference manual.
  • Program participants can use the conferees' manual as a resource document during the elder abuse program and as a freestanding deskbook or reference manual after the program.

Elder Abuse Fatality Review Teams

By Lori Stiegel

Elder abuse fatality review teams review deaths resulting from or related to elder abuse to learn about and improve the responses of adult protective services, health care providers, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, victim assistance providers, and others to elder abuse victims. This replication manual raises the issues and challenges that a developing or ongoing team may face and shares ideas for addressing them that have been used by existing elder abuse, child abuse, or domestic violence fatality review teams. It discusses potential sources of funding for these teams. Additionally, it provides examples and analyses of key documents prepared by elder abuse fatality review teams, such as mission statements; memoranda of understanding, policies and procedures, or protocols; confidentiality forms; and data collection forms.A limited number of print copies are available for free to state or community agencies that are (1) interested in establishing an elder abuse fatality review team and (2) unable to download a copy from the Internet. To request a copy, please provide your name, agency, address, phone number, e-mail address, and your reason for needing a print copy to the ABA Commission on Law and Aging at (202) 662-8690, or aging@americanbar.org. Technical assistance on team development is available from Lori Stiegel, Senior Attorney, (202) 662-8692 or lori.stiegel@americanbar.org. 201 pp. 2006. ISBN 1-59031-538-3

Guardianship Jurisdiction

Neglect

Annual Summaries of State Legislation Amending Adult Protective Services Laws

State Legislation Amending Adult Protective Services Laws

Laws Related to Elder Abuse

Abuse Registries

Access to Victims

APS as Guardian

Capacity to Consent

Caregiver

Confidentiality of Information and Records

Criminal Background Checks

Emergency or Involuntary Services to Victims

Immunity for Good Faith Reporting

Mandatory Reporting to Adult Protective Services

Mandatory Training

Multidisciplinary Teams

Penalties for Failing to Report or Making False Reports of Elder Abuse

Prohibitions of Retaliation Against Reporters of Suspected Elder Abuse

Reporting and Referrals to Law Enforcement

Threshold Eligibility Criteria

Types of Abuse

Undue Influence

Financial Exploitation

Program Background

The 2014 Annual Meeting CLE Showcase program was the kick-off event of the Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation (EIFFE) Prevention Program — Legal which is a collaboration between the ABA Commission on Law and Aging, the Investor Protection Trust, Investor Protection Institute, the North American Securities Administrators Association, and state securities regulators’ offices and state bar associations.

Survey

Through this IPT/IPI and ABA collaboration, the Commission will develop a model CLE program on elder investment fraud and financial exploitation. To inform this effort, the Commission conducted a survey is to gain a better understanding about front-line legal professionals who deal with older victims of investment fraud and financial exploitation. A press release and the survey results are available.

Want more information?

Outside Resources

United States Department of Justice Elder Justice Website

A resource for victims of elder abuse and financial exploitation and their families; practitioners who serve them; law enforcement agencies and prosecutors; and researchers seeking to understand and address this silent epidemic plaguing our nation's elders. The Elder Justice Website serves as a forum to share information and resources so that, as a nation working together, we can fight elder abuse and financial exploitation and support our older citizens.

Articles on Elder Abuse

 Additional archived articles on Elder Abuse available on request

Reprint Request

All ABA content is copyrighted and may be reprinted and/or reproduced by permission only. In some cases, a fee may be charged. To protect the integrity of our authors’ work, we require that articles be reprinted unedited in their entirety. To request permission to reprint or reproduce any ABA content, go to the online reprint/reproduction request form.