Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Is Elder Abuse A Crime?

Is Elder Abuse a Crime?

Most physical, sexual, and financial/material abuses are considered crimes in all states insofar as these acts violate statutes prohibiting crimes such as assault, battery, rape, theft, etc.

In addition, depending on the perpetrators' conduct and intent, and the consequences for the victim, certain emotional abuse and neglect cases are subject to criminal prosecution.

State criminal statutes, adult protective laws, and federal statutes such as Medicare define and establish penalties for abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults.

Prosecution of perpetrators is rare, however, and may be hampered by several factors including victims' fear of retaliation, hesitancy to prosecute family members, or lack of capacity to describe the crime or perpetrator.

While there has been some increase in cases prosecuted (particularly in the area of nursing home abuse largely due to aggressiveness of Medicaid Fraud Units), justice for elder abuse victims requires continued specialized training for police officers and other first responders, district attorneys, victim/witness professionals, lawyers, and the courts.

Recent Developments

Efforts are underway by the criminal justice system to improve response to elder abuse.

Here in brief are some recent developments:

State Attorney General Offices and District Attorneys are setting up specialized elder abuse investigation and prosecution units.

Communities are creating multidisciplinary teams (MDTs or M-Teams) composed of professionals from law enforcement, ombudsman, health, and adult protective services to collaborate on elder abuse cases.

Fatality (forensic) review teams are being created to identify and respond to suspected cases of abuse.

Fiduciary abuse specialist teams (FASTs) involving accountants, FBI, insurance claims detectives, and other specialists are playing an increasing important role in pursuing financial abuse cases.

Links to More Information

Information about Laws Related to Elder Abuse

Changing Role of the Courts in Elder Abuse Cases
By Lori A. Stiegel, American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging

Criminology, Law Enforcement, Elder Abuse, and Senior Victimization (December 2007)
This annotated bibliography highlights research and scholarly articles that examine the criminological aspects of the victimization of older individuals. Investigative and training references, and resources that profile victim and offender characteristics are among the topics featured.

1 comment:

  1. Here is whats really going on...Elder Abuse is being committed by corrupt public guardians offices all over the nation in every county elderly are being hijacked and isolated while their estates are looted by the agencies claiming they are protecting them. BETTY MALKS OF SANTA CLARA COUNTY 30 years of protecting the elderly from who? Over $200 million she states her FAST team has "recovered" that means 200 million out of the owners hands (vunerable elderly) into the Public Guardians possession what happens from then on is MEDIACTE ISOLATE TAKE THE ESTATE and Santa Clara County Court Investigators are EX PUBLIC GUARDIANS! The CI Supervisor Sharon ONEILL (ex PG Fidiciary) also sits as chairman of the Fidiciary Committee for the state of CA. My mother was hijacked rght out of Kaiser Hospital by PG KIM COLEMAN a EX KP Social WOrker.They have destroyed our lives and my mother is and ARE VICTIMS! FNG SOBS!