Elder Abuse

Resource Guide

Elder abuse is an umbrella term that may include physical, sexual, or emotional abuse; financial exploitation; and neglect, abandonment or self-neglect. With our nation’s population continuing to grow older, it is important that courts provide appropriate judicial solutions that respect the values and wishes of elder abuse victims while protecting their welfare, easing access of appropriate cases to the court system, and enhancing coordination among courts and community resources.

Links to related online resources are listed below. Non-digitized publications may be borrowed from the NCSC Library; call numbers are provided.

Featured Links

Center for Elders and the Courts.

The mission of the Center for Elders and the Courts is to provide leadership and resources to courts on a spectrum of issues impacting the elderly.

Uekert, Brenda K. Judging Capacity in the Elder Population. (2016).

The Judicial Edge. The four features of dementia and their importance to the judicial determination of capacity.

Uekert, Brenda K. What is Elder Abuse?.

A Taxomony for Collecting Criminal Justice Research and Statistical Data. (2016). The Urban Institute, funded by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, has assessed how administrative data from Adult Protective Services agencies may be used to develop uniform, national statistics about elder abuse, and how that data may augment currently available crime and victimization statistics.

Special Collection: Preventing and Responding to Domestic & Sexual Violence in Later Life. (June 2015). This special collection brings together selected materials related to preventing and responding to elder abuse. 
Uekert, Brenda K. The Impact of an Aging Society on State Courts. (2006). Future Trends in State Courts.

As the American population ages, the courts will be stressed to educate staff, develop innovative strategies to address elder abuse, and reform guardianship policies and practices.

Uekert, Brenda K. Elder Abuse and Neglect. (2005). Future Trends in State Courts.

As the American population ages, the courts will see an increase in the number of elder abuse and neglect cases. Courts will face the challenge of identifying and documenting such cases and drafting appropriate responses.

Guardianship/Conservatorship resource guide.

This resource guide provides information on guardianship oversight and data.

Issue: Guardianship & Elder Care. Government Relations describes the impact, position, and summary on the issue of Guardianship and Elder Abuse in Congress.

Adult Protective Services

Teaster, Pamela B. et al The 2004 Survey of Adult Protective Services: Abuse of Adults 60 Years of Age and Older. (February 2006). The National Center on Elder Abuse The purpose of the 2004 survey was to gather the most recent and accurate state-level APS data on elder abuse.
Problems Facing Adult Protective Services Programs and Resources Needed to Resolve Them. (January 2003). This is a survey report by the National Association of Adult Protective Service Administrators.
Teaster, Pamela B. A Response to the Abuse of Vulnerable Adults -- 2000 Survey of Adult Protective Services. (2002). Washington, DC: National Center on Elder Abuse A case study of the amounts, types, and solutions of Elder Abuse cases.  Undertaken by the National Center on Elder Abuse, the survey ends with recommendations following its raw data.
Good Guardianship: Promising Practice Ideas on Court Links for Agencies on Aging, Adult Protective Services, and Long-Term Care Ombudsman. State Court Partnerships with the Aging Network. Chicago, IL: ABA Commission on Law and Aging This brochure encourages collaboration in guardianship practices between the court system and the aging network.

Coordinated Responses

National Wingspan Implementation Session: Action Steps on Adult Guardianship Progress. (2005). National Guardianship Network The 2004 Wingspan Implementation Session was convened to assess progress in achieving the Wingspan Conference recommendations and develop a blueprint for further action at the national, state and local levels. 
Our Aging Population: Promoting Empowerment, Preventing Victimization, and Implementing Coordinated Interventions. (December 2000). OJP Issues and Practices Report This report describes the proceedings of a national symposium sponsored by the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services that featured promising multidisciplinary approaches to redress all types of elder victimization. 
Groh, Arlene. Restorative Justice: A Healing Approach to Elder Abuse. Centre for Restorative Justice, Simon Frazer University, Canada A discussion of the aims of the restorative justice project attempting to study Elder Abuse.  This begins by studying the causes of elder abuse as well as defining what it is, and continues through processes for justice as well as manners of avoiding future elder abuse.

Elder Victimization

Under the Radar: New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study. (May 2011). Lifespan of Greater Rochester, Inc., Weill Cornell Medical Center of Cornell University, and New York City Department for the Aging This report looked at self-reported victimization and estimates of cases reported to estimate the amount of elder abuse that is under reported in New York State.
The MetLife Study of Elder Financial Abuse Crimes of Occasion, Desperation, and Predation Against America’s Elders. (2011). MetLife Mature Market Institute, the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, and the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University This follow up study to the 2009 report on financial elder abuse estimates an annual financial loss by victims of elder financial abuse to be at least $2.9 billion dollars, a 12% increase from the $2.6 billion estimated in 2008.
Jackson, Shelly L. and Thomas L. Hafemeister Financial Abuse of Elderly People vs. Other Forms of Elder Abuse: Assessing Their Dynamics, Risk Factors, and Society’s Response. (February 2011). University of Virginia This study examined financial exploitation of elderly people compared to other forms of elder maltreatment (physical abuse, neglect, and hybrid, i.e., financial exploitation and physical abuse and/or neglect) that occurred in a domestic setting.
Congressional Report on the Feasibility of Establishing a Uniform National Database on Elder Abuse. (March 2010). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disability, Aging and Long-Term Care Policy This Report to Congress examines the feasibility of a national data collection effort involving administrative data on elder abuse.
Fernandez-Lanier, Adriana 2008 Domestic Incident Reports Involving Elderly Victims. (February 2010). New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (February 2010).  This report examines domestic incidents involving victims 65 years or older that were reported to law enforcement in 2008 in New York state.
Acierno, Ron et al. National Elder Mistreatment Study. (March 2009). National Institute of Justice This project used a telephone survey to conduct a national epidemiological study to determine the prevalence and risk factors for elder mistreatment and to determine whether proxy reports would yield prevalence estimates similar to those of the older adult respondents.
Whitton, Linda The Uniform Power of Attorney Act: Striking a Balance Between Autonomy and Protection. (2009). Whitton Phoenix Law Review.

Discusses the challenges of determining where to strike the balance between a competent principal's self-determination interests and an incapacitated prinicpal's need for protection against unscrupulous agent conduct.

Broken Trust: Elders, Family and Finances. (February 2009). MetLife Mature Market Institute, the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, and the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University This 2009 report estimates the annual cost of financial abuse of elders to be $2.6 billion.
Power of Attorney Abuse: What States Can Do About it. (2008). AARP Public Policy Institute. This report provides background on POAs and their use and misuse.  In addition, it gives readers -including legal professionals- information about their own state laws regarding POAs.  The report provides detailed charts and narrative to serve as a guide for improving protections through legislative reform and drafting stronger individual documents.
Klein, Andrew et al. A Statewide Profile of Abuse of Older Women and the Criminal Justice Response. (April 2008). Unpublished report received by the Department of Justice from Advocates for Human Potential, Inc. This report details research involving various aspects of domestic abuse of older and elderly women in the state of Rhode Island.  Researchers found larger than expected intimate abuse, especially among married couples, supplemented by even greater abuse by mostly male predatory offspring and grandchildren as women reach age sixty. 
Elder Abuse--The Basics. (2007). National Center on Elder Abuse A resource guide for those who question what to do in a situation of elder abuse.  With this guide, anyone can spot the warning signs of a possible problem, and make a call for help if an elder is in need of assistance
Financial Exploitation of the Elderly. (2007). Arizona Elder Abuse Coalition This report states that a slight majority of financial exploitation victims are elderly females over age 70.  Perpetrators are most often relatives of the victim.  Estimates are that 30-40% of elder abuse involves some form of financial exploitation.
Webinars from the National Consumer Law Center, National Elder Rights Training Project. Includes current and archived webinars on various topics including avoiding guardianship, medical debt, and abuse in later life.

Justice System Response

Casper, Nick The Elder Court: Interview with Judge Joyce Cram. (March 2011). Contra Costa Lawyer

This article discusses the development of elder courts in California.

Morgan, Rebecca C. Elder Law in the United States: The Intersection of the Practice and Demographics. (Summer 2007). Journal of International Aging, Law and Policy, Vol. 2 This article discusses the impact of the aging population on the legal field.  It includes a discussion of elder abuse and neglect in addition to other areas of the law affected by an aging population.  
Rothman, Max B., Burton D. Dunlop, and Laura R. Seff Adapting Trial Court Performance Standards to an Aging Society: Guardianship, Self-service, and Criminal Cases Involving Elder Mistreatment and Domestic Violence. (March 2006). The Center on Aging, Florida International University These proposed elder-specific Trial Court Performance Standards (TCPS) measures are intended to make available self-assessment tools that courts can use to gauge ongoing effectiveness in meeting the needs of older court users. 
Elder Abuse Fatality Review Teams: A Replication Manual. (2006). ABA A set of case studies undertaken to see the most common actions of those who encounter deaths from elder abuse.  A study from the ABA's Commission on Law and Aging.
Lowey, Elizabeth Elder Abuse: Domestic Violence, Self Neglect and Financial Exploitation. (June 2006). Manhattan District Attorney`s Office, Elder Abuse Unit This presentation explains how elder abuse cases involving domestic violence or financial exploitation are prosecuted in New York State.  
Legal Interventions in Family Violence: Research Findings and Policy Implications. (1998). Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice This publication synthesizes the current research and emphasizes practical implications for practitioners. Chapter 2 specifically discusses elder abuse.
Elder Justice Center. The Elder Justice Center (EJC) is a court program in Tampa, Florida that helps persons age 60 or older who are involved in the court system because of guardianship, criminal, family, or other matters.
Fiduciary Licensing Program. This program, a first of its kind in the U.S., is designed to help ensure that Arizona's elderly, mentally incapacitated, and other vulnerable citizens have trained and certified individuals managing their financial affairs, medical decisions, and other vital matters.
The U.S. Department of Justice the Elder Justice Website.

This site provides resources for victims, family members, prosecutors, and researchers.

Uekert, Brenda K. Elders and the Courts Results From the Needs Assessment. (2009). Center for Elders and the Courts.

This report provides a compilation of responses to an informal needs assessment survey by the Center for Elders and the Courts (CEC).

Brenda K. Uekert. Interdisciplinary Recommendations on Court Responses to Elder Abuse. (2007). National Center for State Courts, Future Trends in State Courts 2007.

With America's population growing increasingly older, the author predicts there will be a rise in the number of elder abuse cases in the states' courts.  The article outlines the 2007 NCSC policy paper on elder abuse, lists the different types of elder abuse and some of the issues surrounding elder abuse cases, discusses the 1999 Florida 13th Judicial District's establishment of the Elder Abuse Justice Center, and concludes with the seven recommendations for the aforementioned policy paper.

Judicial Benchcard: Identifying and Responding to Elder Abuse. Center for Elders and the Courts.

This Benchcard is targeted toward judges from all court divisions.  It is to be used as a national template that can be readily modified for adaptation to local laws and resources. Florida’s 13th Judicial Circuit modified version.


Uekert, Brenda and Denise Dancy. State Courts and Elder Abuse: Ensuring Justice for Older Americans. (June 2007).

A call to action to improve the state courts' capacity to identify, develop, and implement strategies that will enhance responses to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

Richard Van Duizend. The Implications of an Aging Population for the State Courts. (2008). National Center for State Courts, Future Trends in State Courts 2008.

In less than 25 years, the number of Americans over age 65 will double to over 70 million. The corresponding increase in cases within the jurisdiction of probate courts as well as those concerning elder abuse will present numerous challenges to the state courts.

Legislation Statutes Laws

Congress Passes Elder Justice Act . (March 2010). AARP Bulletin Today The Elder Justice Act was signed into law as part of health care reform legislation.
Older American`s Act: Title VII Vulnerable Elder Rights Protection. For nearly forty years, the Older Americans Act has expressed the nation's commitment to protecting vulnerable older Americans at risk.

Newsletters listservs

NCEA Elder Abuse Newsletter. A free online newsletter.


Administration on Aging. Department of Health and Human Services

Elder Care Locator. U.S. Administration on Aging Provides resources for older adults in any U.S. community.  1-800-677-1116
MINCAVA Electronic Clearinghouse--Elder Abuse. Articles, fact sheets, and other informative resources.
National Adult Protective Services Association. The leading surveyor of elder abuse and elder justice in the nation.
National Center on Elder Abuse. Provides comprehensive information about elder abuse: its causes and victims, elder-abuse laws by state, hotline reporting numbers, fact sheets, and research reports, with extensive annotated Web links to state, national, and international sites.  See especially their clearinghouse of information as well as related links, including Adult Protective Services, Elder Abuse State Hotlines, Legal Resources by State.
National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL). The Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence created the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL) in 1999 with funding from the Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women. The clearinghouse examines the relationship  between domestic violence, sexual assault and elder abuse/neglect.
National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. The National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA) is an association of researchers, practitioners, educators, and advocates dedicated to protecting the safety, security, and dignity of America's most vulnerable citizens.
National Long Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center. The National Long Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center provides support, technical assistance and training to the 53 State Long Term Care Ombudsman Programs and their statewide networks of almost 600 regional (local) programs.
Office for Victims of Crime -- Elder Abuse. Aid for those who find themselves victims of elder abuse.
Special Committee on Aging. A committee created by the Senate to address problems faced by elders in today's society.
The Center for Social Gerontology. The Center for Social Gerontology, Inc. (TCSG) is a non-profit research, training and social policy organization dealing with issues such as law and aging, guardianship, and the use of mediation in elder law cases.


Oregon Elderly Persons and Persons With Disabilities Abuse Prevention Act . (2010). Oregon Judicial Department 2010 Revised Forms (ORS 124.005 - 124.040).
Mental Capacity, Consent and Undue Influence: What Do These Concepts Have to Do with Preventing Elder Abuse and Neglect?. (2003). National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse Frequently asked questions pertaining to issues of mental capacity and con artists preying on the elderly.
Davis, Robert C., and Juanjo Medina-Ariza. Results from an Elder Abuse Prevention Experiment in New York City. (September 2001). This report addresses the increasing need for elder-abuse prevention and highlights a field experiment involving interventions designed to reduce repeat incidents of elder abuse. 
Our Aging Population, Promoting Empowerment, Preventing Victimization, and Implementing Coordinated Interventions. (December 2000). OJP Issues and Practices Report This report describes the proceedings of a national symposium sponsored by the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services that featured promising multidisciplinary approaches to redress all types of elder victimization. 
Elder Abuse Prevention: A Consortium Serving Alameda and Contra Costa Counties in Northern California. National Resource Center for Safe Aging Information on elderly abuse is provided for residents of Alameda and Contra Costa counties in Northern California. Elder Abuse Prevention was established in 1984 to address the needs of older adults who are vulnerable to abuse or neglect and provides an array of services.
Elder Justice: Stronger Federal Leadership Could Enhance National Response to Elder Abuse. (March 2011). U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Based on existing research, various factors appear to place older adults at greater risk of abuse. Physical and cognitive impairments, mental problems, and low social support among victims have been associated with an increased likelihood of elder abuse. Elder abuse has also been associated with negative effects on victims’ health and longevity. Federal elder justice activities have addressed some APS challenges, but leadership in this area is lacking.

Self Help for Elders in Courts

Elder Abuse or Dependent Adult Abuse Problems and How to Ask the Court for Help. (2007). California Judicial Branch This section explains how to ask for a court order to protect an elder or dependent adult
Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Questions and Answers. (2007). California Judicial Branch A Frequently Asked Questions section which deals with common quandaries one might face in any case of suspected or actual elder abuse.
A Citizen`s Guide to Preventing and Reporting Elder Abuse. (2002). California Office of the Courts A manual outlining the basics of the problem of elder abuse, including guidelines, reporting, and types of elder abuse.

State Links

Alliance Factsheet for Elderly Abuse.

A fact sheet outlining some of the figures making up the elder abuse problem.

Elder and Dependent Abuse Unit. The City of San Diego The Elder and Dependent Abuse Unit was created in 2000 to identify those individuals who prey on senior and dependent adult citizens and to seek prosecution of these perpetrators.
Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse. Office of the City Attorney, Los Angeles An explanation of the Los Angeles Elders at Risk Task Force and Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center, which engages public and community-based organizations in an effort to increase prosecutions for crimes against the elderly.
Elder Calendar.  The presiding judge is Julie Conger. See the press release on the award that was given to the Alameda County Elder Abuse Protection Court
Elder Justice Center. The Elder Justice Center is a court program in Tampa, Florida that helps persons who are age sixty or older who are involved in the court system because of guardianship, criminal, family or other civil matters.
Florida Department of Elder Affairs. A website from the state of Florida that outlines the states' commitment to protecting elders.
Protecting Senior Texans. Financial exploitation comes in many forms, ranging from employees, caregivers and even family members who take money and property from the elderly without permission, to con artists who wheedle and trick financial information, checks and cold cash from trusting seniors. This site is designed to help seniors recognize such situations.
State Elder Abuse Hotlines. Contact information for state Elder abuse hotlines.

Statistics and Definitions

Wisconsin`s Annual Elder Abuse and Neglect Report : 2007. (2007). Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Division of Long Term Care A compilation of all county incident reports from 2007 are the basis of this statewide Annual Elder Abuse and Neglect Report.
Klaus, Patsy. Crimes Against Persons 65 and Older, 1993-2002. (January 2005). Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report This report describes trends in violent and property crime between 1993 and 2002. It discusses characteristics of the crimes, including injury to victims, self protective measures used, whether weapons were present, time and place of occurrence and victim-offender relationships.
Hurme, Sally. Perspectives on Elder Abuse. (April 2002). A paper presented at the NGO World Forum on Aging on April 9, 2002.  Available from the AARP Web site.  An article that provides numerous statistics as well as an international perspective.
Klaus, Patsy. Crimes Against Persons 65 or Older, 1992-1997. (January 2000). U. S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. A study of what types of crimes those over 65 face.  This study is filled with tables, charts, and discussions outlining the statistics of the survey.
Statistics, Research, and Resources. National Center on Elder Abuse A database of statistics on elder abuse.
Trends in Elder Abuse in Domestic Settings. Elder Abuse Information Series 2 A newsletter describing some of the new research undertaken about elder abuse.

Training Curricula and Tools

Training Resources. National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse Annotated bibliography of elder abuse training resources (including videos and training manuals) relevant to professionals and paraprofessionals working in institutional settings.
National Elder Rights Training Project. The National Elder Rights Training Project is part of the National Legal Resource Center, a collaboration of organizations sponsored by the Administration on Aging.