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NCJ Number: 204220 Find in a Library
Title: Legal Response to Elder Abuse and Neglect
Journal: Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect  Volume:14  Issue:1  Dated:2002  Pages:61-77
Author(s): Mary Joy Quinn; Candace J. Heisler
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 17
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article considers the changing content and implementation of laws pertinent to elder abuse in America.
Abstract: The abuse and neglect of elderly persons began to be recognized as a significant problem in the late 1970's. Initial appraisals of the problem attributed it to overly stressed or untrained caregivers, so legislatures across the country passed reporting laws designed to bring services to the stressed caregiver and assist the elderly victims who needed extra help. Additional research, however, found that the stressed caregiver model failed to capture the conduct and motivation of many elder abuse situations. Newer models posit that abuse of elderly persons is more akin to domestic violence and similar criminal behaviors. In December 2001, the first National Summit on Elder Abuse was held. National experts identified critical issues and devised a comprehensive strategy to guide the development of national and State policies. Several of the final 10 recommendations focus on bringing justice to the elderly. These include the enactment of a national Elder Abuse Act that would provide a means to coordinate Federal, State, and local resources; the creation of a legal framework that would take into account the special nature of the victims, the crimes committed against them, and their perpetrators; improved training of professionals in the recognition, reporting, investigation, intervention, and prevention of elder abuse; increased awareness of elder abuse and neglect by the justice system; improved mental health and substance abuse outreach and delivery of appropriate services to victims and perpetrators; and increased support and funding for Adult Protective Services throughout the Nation. U.S. Senate hearings on elder abuse led to the framing of the Elder Justice Act. This act, if passed, would provide a comprehensive program to address elder abuse and neglect at the national level. It would coordinate disparate Federal, State, and local elder abuse prevention efforts, establish new programs to assist victims, provide grants for education and training of law enforcement personnel, and facilitate criminal background checks for employees who care for the elderly. 30 references
Main Term(s): Elderly victims
Index Term(s): Civil remedies; Criminal proceedings; Elder Abuse; Federal legislation; State laws
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