March 2005 | Volume 7 | No. 5

Policy & Legislation

2005 White House Conference on Aging: Executive Director Appointed

Scott Nystrom, Ph.D. has been appointed Executive Director of the 2005 White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA). Dr. Nystrom has had extensive experience in the public policy arena, most recently as senior policy advisor to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging chaired by Senator Larry Craig of Idaho. Earlier, he served as senior policy advisor to President Clinton's Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform, as legislative assistant to U.S. Rep. Jim McCrery of Louisiana, and as senior staff in the Office of Management and Budget during the George H.W. Bush and Reagan Administrations.

Meanwhile, in other news. . .

The deadline for submitting the names of delegates appointed to represent the states, U.S. territories, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, District of Columbia, and National Congress of American Indians has been extended from March 15, 2005 to April 15, 2005.

For more information about the delegate appointment process go to >>

2005 State Elder Abuse Legislation

"The improved response to elder abuse and neglect by the justice system must be predicated on laws that take into account the special nature of these victims, the crimes, committed against them, and the perpetrators.
     —The National Policy Summit on Elder Abuse: Creating the Action Agenda, 2002

It's been a very busy legislative season. Here is a snapshot of important bills relating to elder abuse that state lawmakers around the country are now debating and working on.

Alaska calls for civil justice reforms

HB 59 Liability for Abuse of Vulnerable Adults would amend the Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure to permit a vulnerable adult, or person representing a vulnerable adult who is incapacitated to bring civil action against a person who has abused or exploited a vulnerable adult. Under this law, action could be brought against others who should have known of the abuse or exploitation yet who knowingly failed to act.

Bill status: Introduced January 7, 2005 and referred
Text of bill >>

HB 132 Crimes Against the Elderly. The proposed legislation, if passed, would increase civil and criminal penalties for theft and fraud.

Bill status: Referred March 3, 2005 to Finance Committee
Text of bill >>

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Arizona seeks cap on attorney fees in elder abuse cases

SB 1251 Elder Provider Liability Reform modifies Arizona's Adult Protective Services Act to limit the amount of attorney fees awarded in elder abuse cases, requires the court to follow common law principles when awarding punitive damages and to notify the Department of Health and Human Services of elder abuse settlements or judgments.

Bill Status: Passed House Committee on health unamended March 11, 2005
Text of bill >>

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California Bankers Association sponsors elder abuse legislation

AB 1664 as introduced defines the role of financial institutions and their employees in reporting incidents of suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult. If passed, the bill would also make an exemption to the California Right to Financial Privacy Act to authorize a county adult protective services office, when investigating the financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult, to request and receive from a financial institution specified financial information of a customer. The California Bankers Association is developing a training requirement for inclusion as an amendment.

Bill status: Introduced February 22, 2005 and referred.
Text of bill >>

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Florida calls for more stringent penalties and law enforcement training

SB 96 Protection and Care of Elders. This bill reclassifies the offense of aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult from a second-degree felony to a first-degree felony. The bill also requires certified law enforcement officers and new law enforcement recruits to complete basic training on identifying and investigating elder abuse.

Bill status: Introduced March 17, 2005 and referred to Justice Appropriations
Text of bill >>

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Iowa bills aim to expand penalties and outreach

HF 39 Criminal Offense Against a Person 65 and Older. The bill under consideration provides that any criminal offense in the Code, except a class "A" felony, shall be reclassified one degree higher than the underlying criminal offense if the person against whom the crime is committed is 65 or older.

Bill status: Introduced January 12, 2005 and referred
Text of bill >>

HF 259/SSB 1220 An act relating to Dependent Adults and "At-Risk" Older Adults, including protective services, expands the target population served to include "at-risk" older adults.

Bill status: Introduced February 10, 2005 and referred
Text of bill >>

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Massachusetts bills focus on nursing home abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault, and fraud prevention

SB 406 Investigations of Abuse Against Residents of Long Term Care Facilities would require the Department of Public Health to establish a system of screening and prioritizing elder abuse investigations and evaluations, with the following timelines: 1) within 24 hours if the department has reasonable cause to believe a patient's or resident's health or safety is in immediate danger from further abuse, neglect or mistreatment; 2) within 7 days if a report involves the death of a patient or resident, 3) within 30 days for all other reports.

Bill summary >>

SB 1286 Statewide policy to encourage the education and training of health professions with respect to the screening, identification and referral of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Bill summary >>

SB 404 An act instructing the Secretary of Elder Affairs to draft a Senior Bill of Rights to protect Massachusetts citizens from scams and other frauds.

Bill summary >>

SB 377 An act requiring background checks of all potential nursing home and assisted living residents.

Bill summary >>

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Missouri seeks mandatory minimum sentencing

HB 110 Passage of the measure would require those found guilty of elder abuse to serve a minimum of 30 days of jail time.

Bill status: Pre-filed December 20, 2004; House Committee hearing held February 17, 2005
Text of bill >>

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Minnesota seeks tougher penalties for neglect

SF 1704 seeks to impose stiff financial penalties and jail sentences for the crime of neglecting a vulnerable adult.

Status of bill: Introduced March 17, 2005 and referred
Text of bill >>

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New Mexico targets identity theft and penalties for sexual offenses

HB 246 Identity Theft Victim Remedies imposes three-year time limit for prosecution of identity theft, commencing from the time the crime was discovered. The bill also raises the level of the crime from a misdemeanor to fourth degree felony.

Bill status: Referred March 15 to Judiciary Committee
Text of bill >>

HB 712 Sexual Offenses Against Incapacitated Persons enhances criminal penalties for crimes committed against persons who are unconscious, asleep, physically helpless, or suffer from a mental condition that limits capacity to understand the nature or consequence of the act.

Bill status: Referred March 13 to Judiciary Committee
Text of bill >>

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Rhode Island Attorney General backs package of elder justice bills

S 440 An act to create Office of Elder Justice Advocate in the Department of the Attorney General to prosecute cases relating to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

Bill status: Introduced February 10, 2005 and referred
Text of bill >>

S 558 Rights of Nursing Home Patients would establish minimum staffing levels for nursing facilities.

Bill status: Introduced February 10, 2005 and scheduled for hearing April 6
Text of bill >>

S 724 Citizens Commission for the Safety and Care of the Elderly expands the commission's liaison role to include public safety officials, Department of Elderly Affairs, fire safety, and protective services.

Bill status: Introduced February 17, 2005 and referred to committee.
Text of bill >>

S 0728 An Act Relating to Criminal Offenses - Assaults. If passed this bill would impose a mandatory 20 year prison sentence for any person who commits an assault or battery upon a person 60 years or older causing serious bodily injury.

Bill status: Introduced February 2005 and referred.
Text of bill >>

In Focus: Elderly Sexual Abuse and Assault

A Real-life Nightmare and Trauma

  • Texas teen sentenced for raping an elderly woman
  • Virginia nursing home fined $10,000 for failing to protect a resident from being sexually abused by her brother
  • Hawaii women, 85 and 72, sexually assaulted by stranger at knife point
  • Family members of a 90 plus year old Missouri woman with Alzheimer's say grandmother was raped while living in a nursing home
  • California teen suspected of raping and robbing an 81-year-old woman arrested

What Do the Statistics Say?

  • More than 60,000 rapes of women older than 50 years of age are reported annually.
    (Hampton, H.L, "Care of the Woman Who Has Been Raped, New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 332, No. 4 / January 1995)
  • From cases in Massachusetts in which sexual abuse was identified, 81% of the perpetrators were caregivers, usually relatives of the victim. In 39% of the cases, an adult son was the abuser; in 29% it was the victim's husband.
    (Ramsey-Klawsnik, H., "Elder Sexual Abuse: Preliminary Findings," Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect, Vol.3, No. 3 / 1991)
  • Elderly victims are often seriously injured during the assault: 50.1% suffered genital injuries, compared with 13.2% of the control group. Over a third of the injuries recorded (37%) were severe enough to require surgical repair.
    (Muram, D., K. Miller, and A. Cutler, "Sexual Assault of the Elderly Victim, "Journal of Interpersonal Violence," March 1992)
  • From adult protective services case files of sexually abused adults in Virginia, 12.2% of older victims were sexually assaulted in their home; 2.4% were assaulted in an adult care residence; 70.7% were assaulted in a nursing home; and 14.6% were assaulted in the home of the perpetrator.
    (P. Teaster, K. Roberto, J. Duke, and K. Myeonghwan, "Sexual Abuse of Older Adults: Preliminary Findings of Cases in Virginia," Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect, Vol. 12, No. 3-4 / 2000.
  • More than 1/2 of nursing home residents who were victims of sexual assault died within 1 year of their victimization.
    (Burgess, A, E. Dowdell, and R. Prentky," Sexual Abuse of Nursing Home Residents," Journal of Psychosocial Nursing, Vol. 38, No. 6 / June 2000)
  • Of American women who are raped, 31.5% are physically injured but only about a third of those who are injured receive medical care.*
    (Tjaden, P. and N. Thoennes, "Prevalence, Incidence and Consequence of Violence Against Women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey," U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice / 1998)
  • Rape is the most underreported violent crime in America. Only 16% of rapes are ever reported to the police.*
    (Kilpatrick, D.G., C.N. Edmonds, and S. Seymour, Rape in America: A Report to the Nation, National Center for Victims of Crime / 1992)

*Although elderly victimization is not addressed specifically, these studies help to shed light about the problem of underreporting of sexual assaults.

SOURCES: Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault
National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence
Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Special Report
Emergency Treatment and Evidence Collection for Elder Sexual Abuse
What to Expect and How to Advocate for Victims in the Emergency Department

Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that the experience of emergency rape treatment varies with each hospital or treatment center and each victim. This is a general overview to help professionals gain an understanding of what they may encounter when taking a victim for treatment after a recent assault. Professionals are encouraged to meet with their local sexual violence crisis center and sexual assault response team to proactively determine the best treatment plan for an elder victim.

Although no one ever expects to see an elder victim of rape, there are practical issues for treatment of which professionals in the aging field should be aware. If the sexual assault has occurred within the past three or four days, the victim should be taken to the hospital emergency department or another appropriate medical site for the forensic rape exam and medical treatment, although both depend on the victim's wishes. Some areas have specific exam sites where victims go for treatment.

An important note: If the alleged assault occurred beyond the time frames noted, the victim should be treated for any injuries but a complete forensic rape exam may or may not take place. Keep in mind that the physical indicators of sexual violence may appear minimal, but internal injuries can be severe and fatal if not treated.

Retrieving evidence

Along with evidence collection from the victim's body, the victim's clothes, bed sheets and any other possible evidence (if not washed) will be collected in paper bags, most likely by the police, or if instructed to do so, by staff or family members.

If police are called to the scene, they should be asked to collect and transport these materials (besides anything physically on victim) to ensure an unbroken chain of evidence. Advise the victim to not shower, wash hands, eat, drink, brush teeth, smoke cigarettes, or go to the bathroom (if necessary, save the toilet paper and/or cigarette butts).

Forensic rape exam

Forensic and evidence collection is conducted by health care personnel for possible use in a court of law. Even if a victim is undecided about talking to police or cooperating with the investigation or prosecution, a rape exam and medical exam can be completed to gather evidence.

The hours and days directly following a sexual assault are difficult for any victim, and making a definite decision about speaking with the police and cooperating with the prosecution process can be overwhelming. Due to the time sensitive nature of forensic evidence, victims are encouraged to have the kit collected and not pressured to make decisions about cooperation and prosecution until they are ready. It is important to also note that the prosecution of a sexual assault case is ultimately the choice of the prosecutor, not the victim, but most prosecutors take the victims wishes into consideration.

The exam is a lengthy process, easily lasting from two to four hours. In extreme situations, a victim may have to wait several hours in the emergency room before treatment. During this time period, the victim should be made as warm and comfortable as possible. Besides the time factor, the forensic rape exam is an intrusive, painful experience. Speaking plainly, one's body after being abused sexually becomes a crime scene. While standing on a paper mat to collect fallen evidence, all body hair is combed and all orifices swabbed for DNA.

The forensic exam, while a difficult and time-consuming process, can provide evidence to a crime often without witnesses. Although DNA cannot prove that a sexual assault occurred, analysis on DNA can establish that the accused was at the scene of the crime. On the other hand, a victim does not have to have a forensic rape kit completed in order to have police involvement. At a minimum, the examination includes a patient interview and an assessment for physical trauma.

Choosing Compassionate Care
The role of involved professionals

Emergency medical treatment of victims of sexual assault has taken dramatic steps forward in the past ten years. In the past, a rape victim was routinely asked to wait hours in the emergency department for treatment because her/his injury did not require immediate attention. When the victim was finally admitted for treatment, many doctors and nurses felt uncomfortable or awkward, or were judgmental of the victim, due to unfamiliarity with sexual assault and its effects.

Because of a lack of coordinated effort by responders, victims were forced to recount their traumatic stories numerous times to different people. One of the biggest problems during hospital treatment was the lack of notification to the local sexual violence center, which has sexual assault counselor/advocates on call to provide support to victims.

Advocates providing accompaniment in the emergency department can inform patients about medical treatment, the police process, and their rights under the law, including the right to apply for victim's compensation. Sexual assault counselor/advocates are also comfortable and informed about the common reactions to sexual victimization, and can provide on-going support to victims and their significant others during the traumatic experience of emergency department treatment.

While the negative circumstances described above still occur in some hospitals, many improvements have been made to ensure that sexual assault victims receive optimal, compassionate care.

SART: Sexual Assault Response Team

To improve treatment, many communities across the United States created a sexual assault response team (SART). A SART is a multidisciplinary team, which works collaboratively to provide specialized services for victims of sexual assault. At a minimum the team includes a medical director, a sexual assault forensic examiner, a sexual assault counselor/advocate, a law enforcement representative, and a prosecutor.

Other members of the community can be part of the team, such as adult protective services and children and youth representatives.

By working as a team, the police, sexual assault counselor/advocate, prosecutor and SAFE/SANE or medical personnel ensure accountability and can best serve the needs of the victim. While many communities have a formal SART, each professional's role would remain the same whether or not a team exists.

Roles and responsibilities

Healthcare provider   A SAFE (or sexual assault forensic examiner) or SANE (sexual assault nurse examiner) is a registered nurse or physician who is specifically trained to provide comprehensive care, timely collection of forensic evidence and testimony in sexual assault cases. If a SAFE/SANE is not available, a doctor or nurse with experience in treating sexual assault victims and conducting a forensic rape exam should be utilized. There are also special sites where sexual assault treatment can be given.

The easiest way to identify the best site for sexual assault treatment in your area is to contact your local sexual violence center. These organizations can be contacted through each state's sexual violence coalition, which can be found on the National Sexual Violence Resource Center's Web site at

Sexual assault counselor/advocate   A sexual assault counselor/advocate is available to provide support, assistance and information to both the victim and other professionals who may encounter a victim. With the victim's permission, the counselor/advocate is present during the interview and the exam.

Counselor/advocates provide information to the victim about counseling services and accompaniment for follow-up medical and court appointments. In many states, all communication between victims and counselor/advocates is considered confidential and is not to be shared by the counselor/advocate to any party. The sexual assault counselor/advocate links other involved professionals together to make the process easier for the victim. The counselor/advocate helps the victim get the necessary care and information from healthcare, law enforcement and the district attorney's office.

Law enforcement   The law enforcement officer responds to the crime, interviews the victim (in conjunction with SAFE/SANE or medical personnel whenever possible), and investigates the sexual assault. The SAFE/SANE or medical personnel give the completed and sealed forensic evidence collection kit to the police officer to maintain the chain of evidence. When necessary, the evidence from the sexual assault will be processed for DNA to link a perpetrator to the crime.

Prosecutor/district attorney's office   During the course of the sexual assault investigation, a prosecutor from the district attorney's office will work with law enforcement to see if there is sufficient evidence to prosecute. The primary duty of the district attorney's office is to seek justice and appropriate accountability.

Special Concerns for Elder Victims

While the emergency medical treatment of sexual assault is difficult for any victim, elders may have additional concerns due to physical and cognitive conditions.

Physically, an elder may have additional bruising and tearing due to the assault, making the exam and evidence collection a longer, more painful experience.

Cognitive disabilities, such as dementia or Alzheimer's, pose more difficult concerns. In cases where a victim has a legal guardian, his or her "consent" must be obtained for a medical exam, which could prolong the response time and stay at the treatment facility.

When the victim is partially or fully incompetent, the examiner may experience resistance when conducting the exam. Many victims may not understand why their bodies are being poked and prodded, and fight the examiner. SAFE/SANEs have described problems with elder patients resisting invasive parts of the exam, such as the collection of anal and vaginal swabs. The sexual assault counselor/advocate can be a huge help during this process by attending to the emotional needs of the victim.

A victim never has to agree or be forced to participate in the forensic rape exam, but some techniques have been helpful in easing the stress for elder victims. For example, it is important that victims be asked if they want a family member, friend, or someone they trust to stay with them. For younger victims the sexual assault counselor/advocates may be able to provide the comfort they so desperately need, but for some elder victims a familiar face offering reassurance may be invaluable.

Providing for the elder victim's comfort and physical needs can also provide an additional relief during the invasive process. Bringing a blanket, sweater or other familiar comfort items and making sure physical needs such as medication and nourishment are attended to can also be helpful. Finally, it is possible for healthcare professionals to do a modified exam due to difficulties with the elder.

After the Emergency Department . . . .

While emergency treatment is important, professionals must advocate for the victim's needs after they leave the hospital. Example: Is it safe for the victim to return to his/her living situation? If the answer is no, contacting local aging, social service and/or domestic violence services for shelter options is recommended.

Other questions and concerns, such as transportation and care provision, can also generally be addressed by social services in the community, namely area agency on aging programs. Formulating a plan to deal with after-care concerns should be done before the victim is released from the hospital.

Finally, sexual violence centers provide counseling and support services to victims, free-of-charge.

Karla Vierthaler is Outreach Coordinator for Older Victims, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR). Ms. Vierthaler can be reached at (800) 692-7445, ext. 125 or Barbara Sheaffer is PCAR's Medical Advocacy Coordinator. She can be reached at (800) 692-7445, ext. 132 or

Additional Information & Resources

Forensic Rape Exam Kit

The forensic rape exam kit, used to collect evidence, is a specially sealed box that contains envelopes, swabs and other containers used to collect evidence. A completed kit will generally include the following components:

  • Clothing and other physical evidence (bed sheets, etc.)
  • Debris collection (dried blood, debris under fingernails)
  • Known saliva sample (from victim)
  • Pulled head hairs and hair combing
  • Pulled pubic hairs and pubic hair combings
  • Oral swabs
  • Vaginal swabs
  • Rectal swabs
  • Known blood sample (from victim)
The specimens collected are placed in a sealed box and are generally given to the police immediately.

2004-2006 Training Grants to Stop Abuse and Sexual Assault Against Older Individuals or Individuals with Disabilities

Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life

For the past three years the U.S. Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) has awarded training grants nationally for training law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and court personnel to recognize, address, investigate, and prosecute cases of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation, and violence against people with disabilities, including domestic violence and sexual assault against older or disabled individuals.

A third round of funding for Training Grants to Stop Abuse and Sexual Assault Against Older Individuals or Individuals with Disabilities began October 1, 2004. As a part of this work, OVW contracted with the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence's National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL) to provide training and technical assistance to the grantees. The 2004-2006 Training Grant recipients are listed below.

2004-2006 OVW Training Grantees

University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS
Project HAVEN (Halting Abuse of Vulnerable Adults Education Network), the University of Southern Mississippi Institute for Disability Studies, Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Mississippi Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities, and Mississippi Attorney General's Office have formed a consortium to provide statewide training and consultation to law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges, on abuse, neglect, and violence (including domestic violence and sexual assault) against adults with disabilities and elderly adults.

State of Iowa, Des Moines, IA
The Iowa Department of Elder Affairs, Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Iowa Law Enforcement Academy and Polk County Attorney's Office have formed a coalition to provide training to law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and relevant officers of federal, state and local courts in recognizing, investigating, and prosecuting abuse, neglect, exploitation, domestic violence, and sexual assault against older individuals and individuals with disabilities.

Minnesota County Attorney's Association, St. Paul, MN
The Minnesota County Attorney's Association, Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Minnesota Network on Abuse in Later Life, and Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women have formed a coalition to provide training to assist prosecutors, law enforcement, and tribal professionals in investigating and prosecuting elder abuse, including domestic violence and sexual assault.

Nevada Office of the Attorney General, NV
The Nevada Office of the Attorney General, Las Vegas Metro Police Department, and Sanford Center for Aging, University of Nevada, Reno formed a coalition to address issues facing both elderly and disabled victims of abuse and sexual assault. The project will be the first comprehensive needs assessment in the State of Nevada to delve into the challenges facing the criminal justice system when abuse and sexual assault victims are elderly or disabled. Results will be incorporated into a training curriculum that will be presented at two regional conferences.

Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
This initiative seeks to provide evidence-based elder victim sexual assault investigation skills to Pennsylvania law enforcement officers in three Pennsylvania counties through a partnership between Temple University's Institute on Protective Services, Southwestern Pennsylvania Area Agency on Aging, Berks County Office of Aging, Berks County District Attorney's Office, and Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape. Additionally, the group plans to provide basic elder abuse identification, intervention and regional training to all Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole agents and the state's 67 county probation agents through collaboration with Pennsylvania State Board of Probation and Parole.

Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, Cleveland, OH
This applicant proposed the establishment of the Northern Ohio Elder Protection Training Council, with the objective to dramatically reduce instances of abuse, neglect, exploitation, domestic violence and sexual assault against older individuals across the 40 counties of the Northern District of Ohio. Through collaboration between Cuyahoga County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, Summit County Prosecutor's Office, Mahoning County Prosecutors Office, and Collins Group, curriculum will be developed and training will be provided to law enforcement, prosecutors, and probation officers.

Compass Coordination, Inc., Nashville, TN
Compass Coordination, Inc. is working with Mid-South Training Institute and YWCA of Greater Memphis to design a curriculum and to implement training workshops that address the unique issues law enforcement officers face while assisting people with disabilities and older individuals who are victims of domestic violence and/or sexual assault. A minimum of eight workshops will be delivered statewide by experts on the topic areas.

Sexual Assault and Trauma Resource Center of Rhode Island, Providence, RI
The Sexual Assault & Trauma Resource Center of Rhode Island, in conjunction with the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence and two of the state's leading advocacy agencies for older individuals and people with disabilities, is planning a multifaceted collaborative training effort to reach law enforcement, prosecutors, judiciary, and other professionals throughout Rhode Island.

The Arc of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
The Arc of New Mexico is partnering with local domestic violence programs in Las Cruces and Aztec to train law enforcement officers and prosecutors to recognize, investigate, and prosecute crimes of abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault against individuals with developmental disabilities.

Vera House, Inc., Syracuse, NY
Vera House, Inc. plans to develop curriculum and implement training for court personnel and judges across Central New York on abuse and sexual assault of older individuals. Priority attention will be given to victim safety and offender accountability, unique needs of older individuals victimized, and special considerations of court cases involving older individuals. The project will also modify and expand its current Law Enforcement Curriculum to target New York State Troopers, and will specifically address the issues and unique needs of the largely rural population they serve.

Lifespan of Greater Rochester, Inc., Rochester, NY
Lifespan of Greater Rochester, Inc. is working with the Monroe Community College Public Safety Training Facility and Alternatives for Battered Women to develop curriculum to train law enforcement and 150 peace (probation) officers in Monroe County to recognize elder abuse in all its forms and to facilitate effective victim safety responses and criminal justice intervention.

New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Albany, NY
The Disability and Sexual Assault Education Project is a collaborative initiative between the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Self-Advocacy Association of New York State to train law enforcement officers on meeting the needs and understanding the rights of individuals with disabilities who are victims of sexual violence in New York.

The Turning Point (Rape Crisis Center of Collin County), Plano, TX
The Turning Point of Plano, located just north of Dallas, is collaborating with Hope's Door and Maurice Barnett Geriatric Wellness Center to provide training to law enforcement, courts, and prosecutors in dealing with issues of sexual assault, domestic violence, and assault in older adult populations and populations of individuals with disabilities.

SafePlace (Travis County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Survival Center), Austin, TX
SafePlace of Austin, in partnership with Family Eldercare (an Austin based nonprofit service provider to older individuals and persons with disabilities) and Deaf Abused Women and Children Advocacy Services (an Austin-based nonprofit victim service provider to the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community) will enhance their current training efforts to increase awareness, skills and education of law enforcement, prosecutors, and other criminal justice personnel in working with sexual and domestic abuse crime victims with disabilities.

California District Attorney's Association, Sacramento, CA
The California District Attorneys Association (CDAA), in collaboration with the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, National Adult Protective Services Association, Statewide California Coalition for Battered Women, and National Association of Prosecutor Coordinators, will plan and sponsor specialized workshops for prosecutors and allied professionals in California. CDAA also will produce a DVD, to distribute nationally to prosecutor offices handling criminal cases in state courts, law enforcement trainers, and state adult protective services administrators, and companion Web site materials as well.

Ann Turner is Technical Assistance Specialist for the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL),, Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Ms. Turner can be reached at or (608) 255-0539.

Special thanks to Bonnie Brandl, NCALL Coordinator, for reviewing this special issue on sexual assault against the elderly. Ms. Brandl currently serves as a consultant to the National Center on Elder Abuse on the issues of domestic violence in later life and elder abuse.

Calendar/Coming Up

April Is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April 5 is "A Day to End Sexual Violence." For more information, see


June 1-3, 2005

Third National Sexual Assault Response Team Conference
"Partnering for Success: Accomplishments, Challenges, and the Road Ahead"
Hilton San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

Sponsored by the Sexual Assault Resource Service of Minnesota, with funding from the U.S. Office of Victims of Crime, the conference is geared towards law enforcement, SANEs and other medical examiners, advocates, prosecutors, and crime lab specialists.

Agenda online >>

September 27-30, 2005

National Sexual Assault Conference
Sheraton Station Square
Pittsburgh, PA

A conference on sexual violence prevention and intervention, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.

Early Registration Deadline: July 11, 2005

Online Registration >>

NCEA News & Resources

New on the CANE Web Site:
Working Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding

The Clearinghouse on Abuse and Neglect of the Elderly has begun posting information about Memoranda of Understanding and Memoranda of Agreement related to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The collection now includes examples from Arizona, Florida, Maine, New Mexico, Texas, and Wisconsin. To learn more, go to

Share your experiences!

We want to hear from you! Please send copies of your agreements to the Clearinghouse on Abuse and Neglect of the Elderly If it is not possible to transmit documents electronically, please mail them to CANE, 211 Alison Hall West, Department of Consumer Studies, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, or fax them to (302) 831-6081 Attn: CANE.

If you have any questions, please call Sharon Merriman-Nai at (302) 831-3525.

CANE Bibliography Series: Latest Topic
"The Role and Impact of the Long Term Care Ombudsman"

This latest addition to the CANE Bibliography Series examines the role of the Long Term Care Ombudsman in protecting residents living in nursing and assisted care facilities.

To access, go to > >

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On the Front Lines

Utah Facts and Stats1

  • During FY 2004, Adult Protective Services investigated 2,340 allegations of vulnerable adult abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
  • Of confirmed cases of vulnerable adult maltreatment, 33% involved self-neglect; 18% emotional abuse; 18% financial exploitation; 15% physical abuse; 11% caregiver neglect; and 5% sexual abuse.
  • More than half of the perpetrators (59%) were relatives of the victim, 28% were classified as unrelated non-caregivers, and 13% were unrelated paid caregivers.
  • One-fourth of the perpetrators were under the age of 30; 17% were age 30-39; 17% age 40-49; and 22% age 50-59.

Utah Department of Aging and Adult Services, 2004 Annual Report

1The statistics highlighted in this column are gathered from a variety of state-specific data sources and should be cited using the sources referenced. Readers should note that elder abuse incidence and prevalence rates vary among states and differ depending upon the definitions used and state laws regarding reporting. The National Center on Elder Abuse cannot guarantee and assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information.

Utah Online Resources

Agency Sources


References & Resources

Research & Scholarship

"Sexual Abuse of Vulnerable Young and Old Women: A Comparative Analysis of Circumstances and Outcomes"

By Karen A. Roberto, Ph.D., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Center for Gerontology and Pamela B. Teaster, Ph.D., University of Kentucky Graduate Center for Gerontology
Violence Against Women, Vol. 11, No. 4 / April 2005

Aggregated data from 125 substantiated Adult Protective Services cases of sexually abused women were collected during a 5-year period. Women older than 59 years represented 63% of the cases. Regardless of age, the most common types of abuse involved sexualized kissing and fondling and unwelcome sexual interest in the women's body. Most identified perpetrators were older males. Family members were most likely to abuse women living in the community, whereas women living in facilities usually experienced abuse by another resident. Perpetrators were prosecuted and convicted in six cases. About 12% of the women continued to be at risk of further sexual abuse.

"Making Sense of Rape in America: Where Do the Numbers Come From and What Do They Mean?"

By Dean G. Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. and Kenneth J. Ruggerio, Ph.D.
National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, Medical University of North Carolina
September 2004

Many victims/survivors who do not report to law enforcement or participate in victimization surveys do seek services from rape crisis centers or other sexual assault agencies. Such rape victims show up in agency case loads but not in official rape statistics. Therefore, it is important for agencies to compile and disseminate statistics on the rape victims they serve because many of these victims will be invisible otherwise.

On the Internet >>

"Confronting the Sexual Abuse of Women with Disabilities"

By R. Amy Elman, Ph.D.,, Kalamazoo College, Department of Political Science
January 2005

The erroneous assumption that women with disabilities are asexual has not freed them from sexual abuse. This document opens with a brief overview of the knowledge concerning the sexual abuse of women with disabilities. It then considers the methodological quandaries related to sexual abuse research in general and the data on women with disabilities and the men that abuse them. The author concludes with an exploration of the efforts of women with disabilities and their allies to counter sexual abuse. These include, but are not limited to, research, personal and group confrontation techniques, administrative remedies, and formal legal redress.

On the Internet >>

To see abstracts of more published studies, visit the Clearinghouse on Abuse and Neglect of the Elderly at For assistance, e-mail CANE at

Trends & Statistics

Trends and Statistics: Social Services Block Grant (SSBG)

The Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) is a vital source of federal funds to states that addresses the needs of abused and neglected adults and children. SSBG is a capped entitlement program. Funds are appropriated in proportion to each state's population.

SSBG Statistics at a Glance

  • An estimated 14,280,000 people received services supported at least partially by SSBG grant in 2002. Of these clients, 6,436,000 (45%) were adults.
  • 34 states reported SSBG expenditures for adult protective services (APS). FY 2002 SSBG budget outlays for APS were $153 million and $330 million for child protective services.
  • In 2002, 3 states supported APS primarily with SSBG: District of Columbia (100%), Georgia (71%), and Oklahoma (80%). In 5 states (Alabama, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming) SSBG-funded services were provided entirely to children.
  • About 425,000 adults received APS funded by SSBG, compared with 1,283,000 children who received protection services.
  • 33 states break out APS statistics by age.

To review APS data by state, go to >>

SOURCE: Administration for Children and Families, Social Services Block Grant Annual Report, 2002


2005 Rosalie Wolf Memorial Elder Abuse Prevention Award Call for Nominations

The Rosalie Wolf Memorial Award was created in 2002 to commemorate the life and honor the accomplishments of Dr. Rosalie Wolf, Founding President, National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse []

This year's distinguished award for excellence will be presented at the 10th International Conference on Family Violence: Working Together to End Abuse [], in San Diego, California, September 2005.

Nominations may be made for an individual or organization demonstrating dedication and a strong commitment to further the exceptional work of the late Dr. Wolf in elder abuse prevention and awareness.

The deadline for nominations is April 22, 2005. For further information about award, contact Megan Wiley at

Download Nomination Form >>

New! California Bankers Association Elder Abuse Training Materials

The California Bankers Association (CBA) announced the availability this month of a new training tool on elder financial exploitation. Although it references California-specific laws and adult protective services contacts, the information is excellent and will be valuable for everyone.

Topics include:

  • Elder Financial Abuse and the Need for Response
  • What Is Financial Elder Abuse?
  • How to Spot Possible Cases of Financial Abuse
  • Reporting
  • Legal Issues
  • Other Ways for Banks to Help
  • Preventing Financial Elder Abuse
  • Adult Protective Services Investigations

Financial institutions and consumers alike are encouraged to access these materials to learn more about spotting possible elder financial abuse schemes and what can be done to help seniors avoid becoming victims of this crime.

On the Internet at >>

In a related matter, the CBA recently proposed a state legislative bill to create a voluntary reporting system for suspected elder and dependent financial abuse.

For more information, go to >>

New Report Outlines Strategies to Address Violence Against Women in Asian and Pacific Islander Communities

The Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence has announced the release of a new report "The Community Engagement Continuum: Outreach, Mobilization, Organizing and Accountability to Address Violence Against Women in Asian and Pacific Islander Communities." Culturally relevant strategies for addressing domestic violence are documented in detail.

The report is available on the Institute's Web site at >>

Documentary: Lifetime Television
Terror at Home: Domestic Violence in America
Premieres Sunday, April 10 at 11 pm et/pt

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Maryann DeLeo and Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter-activist Michael Bolton have teamed up for a powerful documentary that explores the problem of domestic violence. Watch an emotional mix of stories about several women from different walks of life who have all undergone physical, verbal or sexual abuse.

SOURCE: Lifetime TV's Stop Violence Against Women Campaign >>

Funding Opportunities

Research Funding: National Institute on Aging

On March 23, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) announced the availability of $1.7 million in funds for the scientific study of elder mistreatment. The government's research priorities include:

  • Innovative methods for estimating incidence
  • Standardization of definitions and measurement
  • Elaboration of risk factors
  • Methods of clinical and psychosocial identification of elder mistreatment, and
  • Identification of elder mistreatment in institutional settings.

The NIA expects to award six to eight grants this year totaling $1,700,000.

Letter of Intent Deadline: June 1, 2005
Application Deadline: June 23, 2005

Download RFP >>

Public Health Service Grant Application Form >>

Planning & Evaluation: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced the availability of a fiscal year 2005 cooperative agreement to build comprehensive prevention program planning and evaluation capacity among selected Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) funded sexual violence prevention programs and to assess short-term and intermediate capacity building outcomes for each program.

Applications may be submitted by the health departments of states and territories, which are current recipients of RPE funding.

Approximate Number of Awards: 4
Letter of Intent Deadline: April 18, 2005
Application Deadline: May 16, 2005

Download RFP >>

National Institute of Justice 2005 Graduate Research Fellowship

Applications are now being accepted for the National Institute of Justice's 2005 Graduate Research Fellowship Program. The Students who have completed all doctoral degree requirements except the research, writing, and defense of a dissertation. Among the priority studies sought are research studies on elder fraud, court services for litigants and other participants who have special needs, and community prosecution.

Deadline: September 15, 2005. Paper applications are not accepted.
For RFP go to >>

Quote of the Month

"As anyone who works with abused elders can tell you, elder abuse victims often live in quiet despair. They are reluctant to seek help because of ageism or fear of retaliation. To protect family members, they often remain silent until their situations are desperate. They feel ashamed to be victimized by people they trusted and worry that officials will not believe them because of their age."

—Joyce DeMonnin, Coordinator, Washington County, Oregon Elder Safe Program and Co-Chairperson of Washington County Domestic Violence Council
The Oregonion 10 March 2005

Table of Contents

Policy & Legislation

In Focus: Elderly Sexual Abuse and Assault

Calendar/Coming Up

NCEA News & Resources

On the Frontlines

Research & Scholarship

Trends & Statistics

In Brief

Funding Opportunities

NCEA Newsletter

is published 10 times a year by


March 2005
Volume 7, No. 5
Sara Aravanis, Director
Susan Coombs Ficke, Contributing Writer/Editor

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The NCEA Newsletter is supported in part by a grant, No. 90-AM-2792, from the U.S. Administration on Aging, Department of Health and Human Services.

Points of view or opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the official views of AoA/HHS or any of the NCEA's affiliated partners.


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