Contact:  Sandy Adkins
Communications Specialist
National Center for State Courts


Screen legend Mickey Rooney turns spotlight on elder abuse

NCSC provides resources on aging issues to courts, public

Williamsburg, Va. (March 4, 2011) — Veteran actor Mickey Rooney appeared before a Senate panel Wednesday to declare he is a victim of elder abuse by a family member, and he's speaking out now to urge other victims of elder abuse to come forward. The 90-year-old Rooney told the Senate Special Committee on Aging that his stepson has intimidated and bullied him, taken advantage of him financially, and deprived him of medications. He emphasized that if someone like him — a child star from the 1930s and '40s who won an Oscar in 1938 — can be a victim of elder abuse, anyone can. 

Rooney's testimony highlights an issue that has become an increasing concern for the public and the courts. According to national reports, for every report of elder abuse, five go unreported. Statistics show that for people between the ages of 60 and 84, 11 percent reported at least one form of mistreatment, excluding financial abuse, in the previous year.

As reports of elder abuse rose in recent years, the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) recognized a need for resources on aging issues, elder abuse, and guardianships, and, in 2010, launched the Center for Elders and the Courts website. This site also provides links to relevant state laws.

NCSC also is developing a curriculum aimed at improving judicial response to elder abuse and neglect. The curriculum will be tested this summer and available online in the fall of 2011. Both the website and the curriculum development have received financial support from the Retirement Research Foundation of Chicago.

In addition, NCSC is developing an Elder Abuse Toolkit for state courts with funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The toolkit is designed to help courts:

  • improve the identification of elder abuse and neglect;
  • increase coordination with agencies and organizations to provide resources for elders;
  • collect data that can be used to gauge the effectiveness of court responses.

For additional information, see the NCSC Elder Abuse Resource Guide.


The NCSC Backgrounder is designed to provide the media with statistics and facts related to current issues of interest.

The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to the state courts. Founded in 1971 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger, NCSC provides education, training, technology, management, and research services to the nation's state courts.