September 2005 | Volume 7 | No. 10

Policy & Legislation

Elder Justice Update

There are growing indications that a bill will be introduced in the Senate within the next few weeks. The Elder Justice Coalition continues to work with Senate Committee on Aging staff and monitor developments on Capitol Hill. Committee hearings are expected later this year.

For more information, contact Robert Blancato, national coordinator, Elder Justice Coalition,,

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Senate Special Committee on Aging Holds Hearing on Scams Against Seniors

On July 27, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing titled "Old Scams-New Victims: Breaking the Cycle of Victimization." The hearing sought to identify the scope of elder financial exploitation, with an aim toward identifying solutions.

Senate Aging Committee Chair Gordon Smith commented on the disturbing cycle of victimization in which each year new seniors fall victim to old scams. He noted that almost 40 percent of seniors rank fear of fraud ahead of health concerns.

Senior officials of the Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Postal Inspection Service talked of the government's efforts to combat telemarketing scams, charity fraud, and other fraudulent practices.

The committee also heard testimony from experts about the prevalence of telemarketing, investment and charity fraud, the toll it takes on its victims, and why the elderly may be particularly vulnerable to such scams.

Anthony Pratkanis, a psychologist at the University of California at Santa Cruz who has spent the last eight years studying economic fraud crimes against seniors, stated foremost in his testimony that economic fraud is a crime, so we must not blame the victim.

Pratkanis stressed that proven strategies for preventing economic fraud must be shared with law enforcement, prosecutors, victims' advocacy networks, seniors, and the public to make people more aware of potential scams, how to protect themselves, and what to do if they've been victimized.

Others testifying included:

  • Denise C. Park, Director, National Institute on Aging, Roybal Center for Healthy Minds, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL
  • Helen Marks Dicks, Director, Elder Law Center, Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups, Madison, WI
  • Vicki Hersen, Director of Operations, Elders in Action, Portland, OR

To read the testimony, visit >>

Reporting by Mark Miller, Elder Rights/Ombudsman, National Association of State Units on Aging

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2005 WHCoA Announces At-Large Delegates

White House Conference on Aging LogoDecember 11-14
2005 White House Conference on Aging

Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
2660 Woodley Road, NW
Washington, DC

On August 31, the White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA) Policy Committee announced the names of the At-Large Delegates who will participate in the conference to be held in Washington from December 11 to 14.

A complete list of all delegates appointed by the Governors, members of Congress, National Congress of American Indians, and the WHCoA Policy Committee can be found at

State News

California Governor Signs Financial Elder Abuse Reporting Act

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has recently signed into law legislation requiring banks, credit unions, and savings and loans to report any suspected financial abuse of older Californians.

California's new Financial Elder Abuse Reporting law requires reporting to be done immediately to either the local adult protective services department or law enforcement agency, and applies up to a $5,000 civil penalty for failure to report. It also extends immunity from civil liability for making such reports to employees of financial institutions.

According to a release issued from the state assembly, "The bill – SB 1018 – represents a carefully-crafted agreement between senior advocates, financial institutions and law enforcement to protect the fiscal rights of California's elderly while at the same time protecting the rights of bank and credit union employees."

The bill was signed into law August 29.

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Illinois Governor Signs Bill to Protect Nursing Home Residents

On August 23, Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation requiring criminal background checks for all of the state's long term care employees–excluding physicians–who have or may have contact with residents, or have access to their living quarters or their financial, medical, or personal records.

Currently, only certified nurse aides and other direct care unlicensed staff in Illinois are included in the background checks.

The law is effective January 1, 2006. For more information, visit >>

Public Act 094-0665 (HB 2531 Enrolled) >>

Special Report: Hurricane Relief

National Network to End Domestic Violence Expedites Emergency Assistance

"The effects of disasters are likely to increase individuals', families' and communities' vulnerability to violence."
World Health Organization

To assist states affected by Hurricane Katrina-Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi-the National Network to End Domestic Violence is expediting the process for accessing Direct Assistance Funds.

Victims of domestic violence can receive funding of up to $2,000 to cover emergency expenses. Shelters in these states that need assistance with purchasing generators, food, blankets and other emergency supplies can receive grants of up to $6,000.

For more information, visit >>

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Crisis Hotline Available for Katrina Victims

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced the availability of a toll-free hotline for people in crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Individuals seeking help can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They will be routed to the closest possible provider of mental health and suicide prevention services.

Crisis counselors are standing by to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is run by HHS' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

More information at >>

For those who are doing outreach, SAMHSA has a poster listing other help lines people can call. The poster can be customized with local contact information for HSS programs that do not use one central help line.

Available Online >>

How to Customize >>

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In the Aftermath: Protecting Vulnerable Elders and Survivors of Domestic Violence



FBI Warns of Hurricane Katrina Relief Scams

Scams come in many guises. Among the bogus schemes the FBI is now tying to Katrina are:

  • Web sites that spoof those of legitimate charitable organizations to steal people's credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security numbers, and other personal information.
  • Phishing e-mails, or "spam," with links that redirect your Web browser to those spoofed sites.
  • E-mails that trick people into opening virus-laden attachments under the guise that they're opening photos of the hurricane damage.

The American Red Cross has been a primary target of these scams and frauds, according to the FBI.

For a list of reputable crisis relief organizations, visit:

Network for Good

To file a complaint, go to:
FBI Internet Fraud Complaint Center

Promising Practices Spotlight: "Caring in Crisis"

ElderServe Metro Louisville Emergency Crisis Response Team

ElderServe, Inc., Louisville, Kentucky's oldest and largest nonprofit services agency, is no ordinary service provider.

Over the past decade, the ElderServe's Crime Victim Assistance advocates have been exceptionally proactive in giving support to Metro Louisville seniors who have been the victims of violent crimes and abuse. Funded through a Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant, services range from help with filing police reports to emergency repair, replacing identification, obtaining emergency protective orders, working with police, crisis intervention, and counseling for victims.

More recently, in addition to its victim assistance activities, ElderServe launched an Emergency Crisis Response Team (ECRT).

Sandy Milner, the program's crime victim advocate, said this program, which is thought to be the only one of its kind in the nation, was created to fill a critical gap: a lack of short-term emergency shelter and home care services for helping seniors in crisis.

"ECRT grew out of a need where there were seniors who needed to be removed from where they were immediately, and the police really didn't have a place to put them," Milner said.

Initially funded through a small start-up grant from Metro United Way, the program has since been folded under the VOCA grant umbrella.

A Model of Collaboration and Cooperation

Within only a short period of time it appears that ECRT is making a big difference for many Louisville seniors.

Milner and her coworkers carry a pager at all times. The Louisville Metro Police Department's Crimes Against Seniors Squad and Adult Protective Services have the number and know where to call for help during crisis situations. And they do.

"They call us anytime," Milner said. "We'll be there in an hour. We'll bring in a caregiver to stay if the elder has been abandoned, if the primary caregiver didn't show up, decided to move out of town, or got arrested over the weekend."

If the situation requires that a victim be relocated, ElderServices has contracted with a hotel in town where they can live temporarily. The program provides up to five days of either home care or emergency shelter.

Truly on the Frontlines: Improving Quality of Life

Each month, roughly 200 reports of crimes against elders are reported to the Louisville Metro police and/or the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office. ElderServe crime victim advocates get copies of all those reports. Advocates contact all of the victims by letter, and they follow up with at least two telephone calls.

Out of the hundreds of victims, Milner said about 5 percent are provided victim support. Another 5 to 10 percent receive other kinds of help.

"A lot of seniors are totally isolated without a support system," she said, adding that "home visits offer an opportunity to see if there are other needs."

To illustrate, she cited a case of a 66-year-old lady who called one weekend when the office was closed and left a message. Milner checked her voice mail and quickly called her back. The woman told her she was scheduled to testify Monday in court concerning a financial exploitation situation, but she was worried that she would be late. She said she lived 17 blocks from the courthouse. She said she used a motorized cart to get around.

Milner knew what to do. That Monday she picked her up, drove her to the courthouse, got a wheelchair for her, and talked the prosecutor into "pushing the case forward at bit" so the woman wouldn't have wait around for hours until the hearing. She accomplished much more.

Knowing the woman needed help to continue living independently, she was able to refer her to a home care agency. "Her mind was strong, but her body was weak," Milner recalled. "She was barely able to walk."

During this past year, ElderServe has also collaborated with Louisville Metro Office for Aging and Disabled Citizens to provide training to all Metro area law enforcement and district, circuit, and family court personnel regarding crimes against seniors. Three more trainings are coming up for area police officers and sheriffs. For further information, call or write:

Sandra Hamilton, Program Director

Sandy Milner, Crime Victim Advocate

ElderServe, Inc.
411 East Muhammad Ali Boulevard
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 587-8673

Michigan to Offer Adult Abuse and Neglect Prevention Training for Direct Care Workers

In a major new initiative to reduce the potential for vulnerable adult abuse and neglect, made possible through a grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Michigan is gearing up to train 11,000 direct care workers across the state who care for vulnerable adults of all ages.

The initiative aims to train all nurse aides, home care aides, home health aides, hospice workers, dietary workers, personal care attendants, and other paraprofessionals in the state who have direct contact with individuals needing care.

Since the Adult Abuse and Neglect Prevention Training project's launch in January 2005, staff and advisory partners have been busily moving forward with work on the curriculum, as well as laying the groundwork for publicizing the campaign. A pilot test of the curriculum begins this month.

Michigan is one of three states to receive funds for training direct care workers under the CMS national criminal background check pilot program. Spearheading the initiative are the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging, Michigan Department of Community Health, Michigan State University, and BEAM, a non-profit subsidiary of Michigan's Health Care Quality Improvement Organization MPRO, and leader in the growing movement to transform the way long term care residents and patients are treated.

"We have a tremendous amount of collaboration within the state," said project coordinator Karen Peters, representing BEAM. "It's the largest training the state has ever done on abuse prevention."

Advancing and Facilitating a Change in the Culture of Caring

In an interview, Peters said the emphasis of Michigan's training will be on bringing about a "culture change" in long term care settings – a change that hopefully results in more caring, compassionate "person-centered" care. Ultimately, the goal is that direct care workers will be able to:

  • Recognize situations and triggers that could lead to abuse.
  • Identify potential situations of abuse, neglect, and/or misappropriation of property.
  • Put into practice tools to aid in preventing potential abuse, neglect, and/or misappropriation of property and know the designated avenues for reporting suspected abuse, neglect, and/or misappropriation of property.

The training, which is slated to start in spring 2006, has been designed as a 1-day, 8-hour course. Attendees may be able to receive CEU credits/hours for participating. The project will cover the cost.

One of the aims for the CMS background check pilot is to identify best practices for training long term care workers on vulnerable adult abuse and neglect. Peters said that the results of a post-training survey conducted by researchers at Michigan State University will allow the project leaders and policy makers to see to what extent participants have had an opportunity to use the skills they learned.

For more information on Michigan's Adult Abuse and Neglect Prevention training, contact Karen Peters, Project Coordinator,, (517) 703-9346, ext. 109,

To learn more about culture change, BEAM services, or to schedule a consultation or training, contact Laura Ferrara, Executive Director, BEAM,, (517) 703-9346.


Michigan Law Enforcement Tackles Vulnerable Adult Abuse

The Michigan State Police has joined up with the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging, Wayne State University Developmental Disabilities Institute, and the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence to train law enforcement first responders on vulnerable adult abuse.

Regional training workshops for police officers, prosecutors, and advocates are being held this fall throughout the state.

According to a statement issued by the Michigan State Police, the training focuses on teaching about aging and disabilities, special skills for interviewing vulnerable adults, how to identify abuse by primary caregivers, how to remove a victim from a home, and how to identify community partners and referral sources.

"Vulnerable adult abuse is a crime that is going under-reported and unpunished," the statement said. "This training seeks to fill the gap in recognizing vulnerable adult abuse and holding perpetrators accountable."

A vulnerable adult abuse resource kit and training video will be made available to those unable to attend the training. Major funding for the initiative is provided by the U.S. Department of Justice.

For more information, call Sgt. Michele Hernandez, Michigan State Police Prevention Services Section, (517) 336-6603,

For more ideas and tools, search the NCEA Promising Practices Database >>

Calendar/Coming Up

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October 2005

Help to spread the message of prevention. Go to for ideas and information.

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Celebrate Residents' Rights Week
October 2-8, 2005

For more information or to purchase the campaign packet, visit >>

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"Caring Every Day"
Believe. Protect. Reach Out.

National Caregivers Month
November 2005

To learn more about the Caring Every Day campaign, visit >>

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Gerontological Society of America 2005 Annual Scientific Meeting Update

Due to the disastrous flooding of New Orleans after Katrina, the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) 2005 conference location has been moved to Orlando, Florida. The meeting dates have not changed. The annual meeting will be held November 18-22, 2005.

The theme of this year's conference is "Interdisciplinary Mandate." Among the topics:

  • The NCEA 2004 Survey of Adult Protective Services: Abuse of Adults 60 Years of Age and Over
  • Assessment of adult protective services: Perspectives from Community-Based Professionals
  • Domestic Violence Against Older Women
  • Model Training Program on Elder Abuse for Law Enforcement: An Evaluation

For more information or to register, go to >>

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American Public Health Association 2005 Annual Meeting Update

The American Public Health Association 2005 Annual Meeting & Exposition has also been moved as a result of Katrina. The meeting is scheduled to be held December 10-14 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

APHA's 133rd annual conference will offer more than 900 scientific sessions, roundtables, and panel discussions. Among the topics:

  • Respect and Disrespect: Culturally Acceptable Responses to Elder Abuse in Alaska Native Communities
  • Abuse of Elders in Indian Country
  • Proceed with Caution: Negotiating Data Acquisition on the Sexual Abuse of Vulnerable Adults in Institutions
  • Using Technology to Expedite Screening and Intervention for Family Violence

For more information or to register, go to >>

16th Annual National Adult Protective Services Conference
October 12-14, 2005
Salt Lake City

Workshops will include APS Interviewing Skills; Autonomy, Capacity and the Right to Decide; Understanding and Working with Self-Neglect; and The Role of APS in End of Life Decisions.

To register for the conference, go to

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Check our Web site often for more dates and events

NCEA News & Resources

New Bibliography Available from CANE
"Identifying Elder Abuse: Tools, Techniques and Guidelines for Screening and Assessment"

This newest addition to the CANE Bibliography Series highlights the latest research, tools, and guidelines on screening for elder abuse.

New Release CANE Annotated Bibliography >>

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National Adult Protective Services Association Unveils New Web Site

The National Adult Protective Services Association, one of the NCEA's national partners, recently announced it has launched a new Web site for professionals in the field of adult protection. For more information, visit

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Join Our Listserve

Sign up today for
The National Center
On Elder Abuse Listserve.

See our Web site for details.

On the Front Lines

Alabama & Stats1

  • In Alabama, during 2004, Adult Protective Services investigated 4,754 reports of vulnerable adult abuse. More than half of all investigations (53%) were substantiated, and one of every two victims was age 65 or older.
  • Most allegations in 2004 pertained to neglect (77%). Allegations were also made in connection with adult abuse (16%) and financial exploitation (15%).

Source: Alabama Department of Human Resources, Adult Abuse Facts 2004,

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.

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Alabama Online Resources




Research & Scholarship

"Interventions from Home-Based Geriatric Assessments of Adult Protective Services Clients Suffering Elder Mistreatment"

by John M. Heath, MD, et al, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Vol. 53, No. 9 / September 2005

Home health agency services were initiated for a sample of adult protective services (APS) clients suffering from all forms of mistreatment. Institutional placements (36%) and guardianship interventions (36%) were correlated with caregiver neglect, especially in female APS clients and those diagnosed with dementia. Urgent medications (25%) were prescribed across all mistreatment classifications, and acute hospitalization (20%) was correlated with circumstances of physical abuse.

An in-home geriatric assessment service was able to contribute at least one relevant intervention for 81 percent of referred APS clients to collaboratively help mitigate elder mistreatment circumstances.

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"The Life Cycle of Bruises in Older Adults"

Laura Mosqueda, MD, Kerry Burnight, PhD, and Solomon Liao, MD, University of California at Irvine, College of Medicine
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Vo. 53, No. 8 / August 2005

The aim of this study was to systematically document accidental bruising in a sample of seniors, to provide a standard against which to compare suspicious bruising. Findings revealed that bruises almost always (90%) were on the extremities. There were no bruises on the neck, ears, genitalia, buttocks, or soles of feet. Subjects were more likely to know the cause of the bruise if the bruise was on the trunk.

Accidental bruises occur in a predictable location pattern in older adults. One cannot reliably predict the age of a bruise by its color.

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"Housing and Self-Neglect: The Responses of Health, Social Care and Environmental Health Agencies"

by Prof. William Lauder, University of Dundee, Scotland UK ; Isobel Anderson, PhD, University of Stirling, Scotland; and Aileen Barclay, University of Stirling, Scotland
Journal of Interprofessional Care, Vol. 19, No. 4 / August 2005

This study explored ways in which different health, social, housing, police, and voluntary agencies respond to the problems associated with self-neglect. The study revealed a need to better coordinate intervention and resources. Most importantly, better indicators are needed for early intervention.

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Temporary Assistance for Needy Families:
State Approaches to Screening Domestic Violence Could Benefit from HHS Guidance

U.S. Government Accountability Office / GAO-05-701 / August 2005

The difficulty of identifying domestic violence is compounded by a lack of consensus about the best techniques for screening clients. Some state officials and researchers reported the benefit of screening tools composed of multiple questions asking about various aspects of domestic violence - such as physical abuse, verbal abuse, or stalking. They believe such an approach helps clients who may not think of themselves as domestic violence victims and yet may respond affirmatively to a question about a specific behavior. On the other hand, some research has found that detailed questions about specific aspects of domestic violence may be considered overly intrusive.

GAO recommends that the Department of Health and Human Services identify and share promising practices adopted by states for screening and responding to domestic violence.

On the Web >>

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Social Security Numbers: Federal and State Laws Restrict Use of SSNs, yet Gaps Remain

Testimony of Barbara D. Bovbjerg, before the New York State Standing Committees on Consumer Affairs and Protection, Government Operations, and Banks
U.S. Government Accountability Office / GAO-05-1016T / September 2005

Although Congress and the states have enacted laws to protect consumers' privacy, the public and private sectors' continued use of and reliance on Social Security numbers, and the potential for misuse, underscore the importance of tightening protections where possible.

On the Web >>

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

Funding Opportunities

Applicants Invited for 2006 Paul B. Beeson Career Development Awards in Aging Research Program

The National Institute on Aging invites applicants for the 2006 Paul B. Beeson Career Development Awards in Aging Research Program. A major goal of the program is to expand clinically-relevant research on aging.

This prestigious grant is named for Paul B. Beeson, MD, former Chairman of Medicine at Emory and Yale Medical Schools, Nuffield Professor at Oxford University, Professor and Distinguished VA Physician at the University of Washington, and a founding member of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

The program is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging, John A. Hartford Foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies, and Starr Foundation.

Deadline for Letter of Intent: October 24, 2005

Application Deadline: November 23, 2005

More information >>

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Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/Vera Institute of Justice Invite Applications for Postdoctoral Fellowship on Race, Crime, and Justice

Researchers and PhD scholars are invited to apply for the 2006 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/Vera Institute of Justice Fellowship on Race, Crime, and Justice. The two-year research fellowship seeks to nurture critical and creative thinking on problems facing the criminal justice system.

Applicants must have finished their doctorate within seven years of applying for the Mellon/Vera fellowship or be completing it by summer 2006.

Application Deadline: October 21, 2005

More information at >>

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Resources for Grant Writers

New on the Bookshelf

New Research: Nursing Facilities, Staffing, Residents, and Facility Deficiencies 1998 Through 2004

This important new book by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, published August 2005, presents calendar year data on nursing facilities, staffing, resident characteristics, and surveyor reports of quality deficiencies by state. As the following excerpt reveals, all is not rosy:

"Beginning in July 1996, surveyors rated the scope and severity of each deficiency. Table 34 shows the percent of facilities that caused harm or immediate jeopardy to residents (rated as a G-level deficiency or higher). The average percent was 29.9 percent in 1998, increasing to 30.6 in 1999, and then declined sharply to 15.5 percent in 2004. There is some evidence that some state agencies may be down grading the severity ratings for deficiencies (USGAO, 2003)."

On the Internet >>

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Abuse and Neglect of Vulnerable Adult Populations

NCEA partner Joanne Otto of the National Adult Protective Services Association has published a new book. The book, "Abuse and Neglect of Vulnerable Adult Populations," includes major sections on:

1) Prevalence and Types of Abuse, 2) Specific Populations, 3) Mental and Physical Disabilities, 4) Professional Development, Policies & Best Practices, 5) Legal Responses to Abuse of Vulnerable Adults, 6) Criminal Prosecution, and 7) Civil Remedies.

The book can be purchased from Civic Research Institute, P.O. Box 585, Kingston, NJ 08528, (609) 683-4450,

More information at >>

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"Analyzing Repeat Victimization"
Problem-Oriented Guides for Police Problem-Solving Tools Series No. 4

This new COPS guide, the latest in a series from the U.S. Department of Justice's Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, summarizes what is known about repeat crime victimization patterns. The author writes: "Among domestic violence offenders, as many as two-thirds of incidents are committed by repeat offenders."

On the Internet >>

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New Resource from Humane Society of the United States

All too often people assume that they will survive their beloved pets. Meanwhile, local animal shelters–those on the front lines of our country's pet overpopulation crisis–frequently see the unintended consequences of people's failure to appropriately provide for their pets.

To prevent this from happening, the Humane Society of the United States now offers a free kit for the animal loving public, "Providing for Your Pet's Future Without You," complete with a six-page fact sheet, wallet alert cards, emergency decals for windows and doors, and caregiver information forms.

On the Internet >>

To order a free copy of the kit in English, please call 1-800-808-7858 or write

Quote of the Month

"Indifference is the essence of inhumanity."
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

Table of Contents

Policy & Legislation

State News

Special Report: Hurricane Relief

Promising Practices Spotlight: "Caring In Crisis"

Calendar/Coming Up

NCEA News & Resources

On the Frontlines

Research & Scholarship

Funding Opportunities

New on the Bookshelf

Quote of the Month

NCEA Newsletter

is published 10 times a year by


September 2005
Volume 7, No. 10
Sara Aravanis, Director
Susan Coombs Ficke, Contributing Writer/Editor

Request for Information
Call the NCEA Help Desk at
(202) 898-2586, e-mail, or visit

Subscribe to NCEA Newsletter


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.


National Association of State Units on Aging
1201 15th Street, NW, Suite 350
Washington, DC 20005
PHONE: (202) 898-2586
FAX: (202) 898-2583

NCEA News Archives on the Internet >>