The following statistics are derived from the findings of a
national study of domestic elder abuse reports conducted
by the National Center on Elder Abuse in 1994. Data on
elder abuse reports were collected from state adult
protective service and state units on aging across the
nation for the years of 1993 and 1994. It is important to
note that some experts estimate the only one out of 14
domestic elder abuse incidents (excluding the incidents of
self neglect) comes to the attention of authorities.
In 1986, there were about 117,000 reports
of domestic elder abuse in the nation. This
figure rose to 241,000 reports in 1994,
representing an increase of 106 percent.
It is estimated that approximately 818,000
elders became victims of various types of
elder abuse in 1994. This figure, however,
excludes self-neglecting elders. If self-neglecting elders are added, the total
number of elder abuse victims would be
1.84 million individuals in the same year.
In most states, certain types of
professionals are designated as "mandatory
reporters of elder abuse" and are required
by law to report suspected cases of elder
maltreatment. In 1994, 21.6 percent of all
domestic elder abuse reports came from
physicians and other health care
professionals, while another 9.4 percent
came from service providers, and family
members and relatives of victims reported
14.9 percent of the reported cases of
domestic elder abuse.
The majority of domestic elder abuse
reports are substantiated after
investigations. For example, 54.9 percent
of reports were substantiated in 1994.
Additionally, 54.9 percent of the
substantiated reports were self-neglect
Neglect is the most common form of elder
maltreatment in domestic settings. Of the
substantiated reports of elder abuse for
which perpetrators were identified in 1994,
58.5 percent involved neglect. Physical
abuse accounted for 15.7 percent in the
same year, while financial/material
exploitation was 12.3 percent of the
In 1994, 65.4 percent of the victims of
domestic elder abuse was white, 21.4
percent were black, and Hispanic elders
accounted for 9.6 percent of the domestic
elder abuse victims.
Adult children are the most frequent
abusers of the elderly in domestic settings.
It was found that 35 percent of the
substantiated elder abuse cases in 1994
involved adult children as abusers. "Other
relatives" ranked as the second most
frequent abusers (13.6 percent) and spouses
with 13.4 percent.
In 1994, the majority of abusers were
female (52.4 percent) and slightly more
than three-fifths of victims were females
(62.1 percent). Similarly, about three-fifths of self-neglecting elders were also
females (62.4 percent).
The median age of elder abuse victims was
76.4 years, according to 1994 data that
excluded self-neglecting elders.
NCEA is operated by a consortium of the American Public
Welfare Association (APWA), the National Association of
State Units on Aging (NASUA), the University of
Delaware, and the National Committee for the Prevention
of Elder Abuse (NCPEA), with funding assistance from the
Administration on Aging (AoA).