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elder abuse collageSpecial Feature: Elder Abuse

An estimated 1 in 10 senior citizens over the age of 60 is abused each year, though only about 4% of elder abuse cases are reported (Elder Justice Initiative, Department of Justice, Retrieved May 2015). Elder abuse, also known as elder mistreatment, generally refers to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act that causes harm or creates a serious risk of harm to an older person by a family member, caregiver, or other person in a trust relationship (Elder Abuse/Mistreatment, Office for Victims of Crime, Retrieved May 2015).

Additionally, senior citizens are particularly vulnerable to financial exploitation at the hands of scammers, dishonest financial professionals, and deceptive caretakers. As a group, the elderly have had more time to accumulate wealth, and the ability to properly manage their finances declines with age. It’s estimated that fraud cost elderly Americans nearly $3 billion in 2010 (Elder Justice, U.S. Government Accountability Office, May 2013).

The Elder Justice Act of 2009, as part of the Affordable Care Act, established the Elder Justice Coordinating Council (EJCC) to coordinate activities related to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation across the Federal government (Elder Justice Coordinating Council website, Retrieved May 2015). The EJCC’s Elder Justice Interagency Working Group brings together federal officials responsible for carrying out elder justice activities including elder abuse prevention, research, grant and program funding, and prosecution. This informal group has been meeting since its inception in 2001 to discuss emerging issues, promising practices, and mechanisms for coordinating efforts throughout the federal government (Elder Justice Interagency Working Group, Elder Justice Coordinating Council, May 2013).

To learn more about elder abuse, please select a page from the listing below or from the box at the right under the "Elder Abuse" heading: