November/December 2006 | Volume 9 | No. 2

Policy & Legislation

Elder Justice Update
Countdown Clock Ticking Away

As the 109th Congress draws to a close, the Elder Justice Coalition reports that a bipartisan group of Senate staff members are continuing to push for a final agreement which will allow the Elder Justice Act to get to the Senate and House floors.

Thus far no agreement has been reached. The Coalition continues to monitor developments.

The Senate version of the Elder Justice Act, S. 2010, now has 30 cosponsors. The House bill, H.R. 4993, has 50 cosponsors. The latest additions are Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) and Representatives Bob Filner (D-CA), Bobby Jindal (R-LA), and Nick J. Rahall II (D-WV).

It is possible that Congress could remain in session until December 22. For bill status updates, contact the Elder Justice Coalition at (202) 782-4140 or e-mail

Additional Resources

Sharing Ideas: Promising Practices Spotlight

Criminal Justice and Family Advocacy
Minimizing Trauma for the Victim: The Scottsdale, Arizona Experience

"Imagine for a moment what it is like emotionally to be the victim of family violence. . . what it must be like to be. . . a disabled elderly woman, unable to move quickly, being threatened by a grown son or caregiver. . . . Imagine the [feelings of betrayal, the utter devastation]. . . . when someone you love, and who is supposed to love you, hits you, kicks you, punches you, or shakes you.

It's horrifying. And because it occurs in the home, the victim feels trapped, and unable to escape."

– Vice Adm. Richard Cremona, MD, U.S. Surgeon General,
"Family Violence as a Public Health Issue"

The Scottsdale Family Advocacy Center, officially opened in February 2003 by the City of Scottsdale Police Department, has a broad mission to provide comprehensive services to domestic violence, child and adult abuse, and sexual assault victims and their families in a safe, comforting, and supportive environment.

Funded by the City of Scottsdale and private donations, the Center pursues a multidisciplinary approach to victim service; in keeping with its mission, it is staffed by professionals with a broad range of expertise, including sex crime/domestic violence detectives, victim services, city prosecutors, adult probation, child protective services, sexual assault nurses, a forensic interviewer, a pediatric doctor, and a receptionist. Adult Protective Services is routinely consulted on cases involving elders.

Two members of the Scottsdale Police Crisis Intervention Service (PCIS) Unit are also assigned to the Center. One position has a primary focus on providing intervention services to victims of sexual assault, elder abuse, and crimes against children. The other interventionist assists victims of domestic violence.

Sergeant Bernie Hill, one of the front line police officers assigned to the Center, said it was conceived from a desire to ensure that systems which are designed to protect don't re-traumatize or re-victimize people in need.

"We're not a typical police facility or medical facility," he said in a conversation with NCEA. "The Center was designed so that there are few distractions. It is a quiet place. We have quiet rooms to try and make it relaxing so people can feel more at ease."

One of the biggest comforts, Hill said, is prohibiting suspects from entering the building.

The Center offers a tremendous range of supports. Services include after-hour advocate response and victim assistance; crisis intervention; financial assistance; information and referrals; case investigation; legal advocacy; assistance with orders of protection; safety planning; sexual assault exams; shelter access and emergency housing assistance; court advocacy; support groups; and short-term counseling.

In 2003, over 140 interviews by detectives and more than 80 counseling sessions by PCIS and Victim Services were conducted for child and adult victims. Most of the elder abuse cases, Hill said, have involved in-home care. Referrals are made through police dispatch or social services.

Statewide, adult protective services received 10,007 reports alleging abuse, neglect, or exploitation of vulnerable adults in 2004. According to government figures, three out of every four reports involved persons 60 and older.

Advice, Lessons Learned, Future Plans

"The psychological trauma [of abuse] may be particularly profound for older victims since the ability to recover from trauma is influenced by pre-victimization coping patterns and support networks. For many elders, their sources or networks of support have diminished as they aged. The stresses associated with the criminal act itself or with court appearances can be exacerbated for elders with high blood pressure or other age related conditions."

Vermont Center for Victim Crime Services

Asked what advice he'd give, Sergeant Hill answered, "If there is ability to get in agreement with government agencies, it will help in being successful. You want to have all those facilities and services available at one place and need government agencies on board to do that."

Noting that forensic nurses from Scottsdale Healthcare conduct all sexual assault exams on the premises, he also said it makes sense to collaborate with a medical facility that will be able to do that.

Partnership building, Hill added, is an ongoing priority. "We want medical providers to agree to provide care at the Center instead of making victims go to the medical facility. We need to work that out with doctors and providers to work out an agreement," he said.

For more information, please contact Sgt. Bernie Hill, Scottsdale Police Department Family Investigations Bureau, (480) 312-6310,

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Tell Us Your Story

Do you, or someone you know, have a successful model of elder abuse prevention and response or example of local cooperation? Let us know and we'll spread the word. Experience makes a difference.

Share a "promising practice" >>

In Focus: Putting a Stop to Exploitation

Banking Institutions Offer a First Line of Defense Against Financial Elder Abuse
by Kathleen Quinn, Executive Director, National Adult Protective Services Association

When asked why he robbed banks, 1930's bank robber "Slick" Willie Sutton is said to have replied, "Because that's where the money is." Not unlike Willie, a proliferating number of greedy family members, thieves, miscreants, and professional con artists prey on the elderly "because that's where the money is."

Working on the frontlines, banks and financial institutions are uniquely positioned to spot elder financial abuse as it happens and to take steps to put a stop to it. State legislatures increasingly are recognizing that banks play a key supportive role in responding to this issue. Nationwide, over a third of the states now have laws requiring or encouraging financial institutions and their employees to automatically report all known or suspected incidences of abuse to Adult Protective Services (APS).

On January 1, a new law goes into effect in California requiring every bank in the state to report suspicious activity.

In part due to the increasing publicity over fraud against elders, banks all across the country are stepping up their efforts to protect their customers. As reported by NCEA last year, Wachovia Bank, working in partnership with the Adult Protective Services program at the Philadelphia Corporation for the Aging, in particular has been a leader in instituting financial fraud training in all of its branches nationwide.

Elder financial abuse cases can be extremely complicated. To help bank personnel better understand the issues, the American Bankers Association held a 2-hour Telephone/Webcast Briefing October 18 with member banks around the country. Listening in were roughly 575 participants from 126 banks nationwide.

Specifically, the telebriefing focused on:

  • Why elders are so often targeted for financial fraud, and what adult protective services is and does;
  • Wachovia's initiatives and experiences, including the large amount of seniors' funds (well over $1 million) that have been protected, and the significant number of cases referred to APS and/or law enforcement; and
  • The new California mandatory reporting law and legal considerations that banks in California and elsewhere need to consider.

The panel of speakers included Linda Mill, Senior Vice President for Deposit Risk Operations, Wachovia Bank, Philadelphia, PA, Leland Chan, an attorney with the California Bankers Association, Sacramento, CA, and Kathleen Quinn, Executive Director, National Adult Protective Services Association.

The telebriefing's Q&A segment stimulated a lively, thought-provoking discussion. Addressing the question of whether customers might be unhappy about a bank's increased oversight of their accounts, Ms. Mill assured everyone that older clients and their families, with very few exceptions, were very enthusiastic with the additional protections Wachovia provides them, adding that Wachovia Bank has received a large amount of positive press on their elder abuse prevention and intervention efforts.

She and Mr. Chan both were very supportive and positive about banks working with APS and the potential that developing a strong working relationship between the two systems has for protecting older clients and their assets. She reported that financial exploitation was found through follow up investigation in 70 percent of the cases referred to loss prevention by Wachovia tellers.

Mr. Chan suggested that banks consider amending customer account contracts to notify the customer that they may perform increased oversight and may report suspicious activities to APS or law enforcement.

Because of the widespread interest in the topic, the very positive feedback to the session, and California's new reporting law, the American Bankers Association has raised the possibility of offering a follow up telebriefing on elder financial abuse early in 2007.

For those unable to participate in the October call, an Audio CD of the briefing is now available from the American Bankers Association

Additional Resources

NCEA News & Resources

The Power of Partnership

By all accounts, the multifaceted problem of elder abuse requires multidisciplinary solutions. The need for coordination among local and statewide government, is supported by research, plays out in state laws mandating multidisciplinary teams, and is reflected in the 2006 amendments to the Older Americans Act and many aspects of the current proposals for national elder justice legislation.

Since the requirement in the 1992 amendments of the Older Americans Act for the U.S. Administration on Aging to establish and fund a "National Center on Elder Abuse," the NCEA has been a collaborative enterprise. Our partners have decades of combined experience and expertise to share with aging, adult protective services, elder abuse prevention, domestic violence, and criminal justice networks, and over the years, the NCEA has become a well established source of information on elder abuse with a national and international reputation.

NCEA offers technical assistance, training, or consultation in a variety of areas. For additional information, please contact us:

  National Association of State Units on Aging
  Late Life Domestic Violence: What the Aging Network Needs to Know
  Nursing Home Abuse Prevention Profile and Checklist
  MORE >>

Sara Aravanis, MSW, NCEA Director and
Associate Director for Elder Rights
National Association of State Units on Aging
1201 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005-2800
(202) 898-2578

  American Bar Association Commission on Law & Aging
  Analyses of State Adult Protective Services Laws
  State Level Guardianship Data: An Exploratory Survey
  Availability and Utility of Interdisciplinary Data on Elder Abuse
  MORE >>

Lori Stiegel, JD, Associate Staff Director
American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging
740 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005-1009
(202) 662-8692 / Fax (202) 662-8698

  National Adult Protective Services Association
  Filling the Gaps: APS Services Resource Development, A Training Curriculum
  A Response to the Abuse of Vulnerable Adults: The 2000 Survey of State Adult Protective Services
  MORE >>

Kathleen Quinn, MSW, Executive Director
National Adult Protective Services Association
920 S. Spring Street, Suite 1200, Springfield, Illinois 62704
(217) 523-4431 / Fax (217) 522-6650

  National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
  Abuse of Adults Age 60+: 2004 Survey of Adult Protective Services
  An Adult Protective Services View of Collaborative Efforts with Mental Health
  MORE >>

Randy Thomas, President
National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
1612 K Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20006
(202) 682-4140 / Fax (202) 223-2099 /

  Clearinghouse on Abuse & Neglect of the Elderly

CANE Bibliography Series
  Multidisciplinary and Collaborative Approaches in Responding to Elder Abuse
  Abuse and Neglect of the Elderly in Nursing Homes and Long Term Care Facilities
  MORE >>

Karen Stein, PhD, Director
Clearinghouse on Abuse and Neglect of the Elderly
University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716
(302) 831-3525 / Fax: (302) 831-3587

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Call for MOUs Relating to Elder Abuse

NCEA's partners, the ABA Commission on Law and Aging and CANE, invite you to send examples of Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) and Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) entered into by state, local or regional agencies relating to elder abuse.

MOUs/MOAs are a key tool to foster collaboration. Setting forth roles of the signing agencies, the agreements may include details of protocols, policies and procedures, or terms of interstate compacts (an agreement between states), if relied upon.

Your willingness to share your MOUs/MOAs with others helps leverage knowledge to "avoid reinventing the wheel."

Please send pertinent documents by e-mail to If you are unable to transmit your MOUs/MOAs electronically, please mail to University of Delaware, Clearinghouse on Abuse and Neglect of the Elderly, 111 Academy Street, 182 Graham Hall, Newark, DE 19716, or fax to (302) 831-3587.

So far, we have a small collection of 22 MOUs/MOAs. To learn more the collaborations taking place, visit the CANE Web site at

Note to Readers:

The next issue of the NCEA Newsletter will be published in January 2007. We wish all our colleagues a peaceful and happy New Year.

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NCEA Elder Abuse listserve provides a free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week online link to others who are working on elder abuse issues. The NCEA listserve is a discussion forum for professionals working in elder abuse or allied fields. Membership is restricted to adult protective services practitioners and administrators, aging services practitioners and administrators, educators, health professionals, judges, lawyers, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, policy makers, and researchers.

To request a subscription to the Elder Abuse listserve, just fill out the form at If you don't have access to the Web-based form, you can instead e-mail the list manager at; you must provide the following information:

  • Your name, profession, and e-mail address
  • A statement of your interest or expertise in elder abuse or adult protective services
  • Employer's name (if applicable) and address
  • Phone number (so that you can be contacted in the event of an e-mail problem)

See our Web site for more details.

Research & Scholarship

  "Information Processing of Sexual Abuse in Elders"
by Ann W. Burgess, DNSc, Boston College School of Nursing and Paul T. Clements, PhD, Old Dominion School of Nursing
Journal of Forensic Nursing, Volume 2, No. 3 / Fall 2006

"Rape trauma in an elder increases the challenge for recovery; it can lead to further physical, cognitive, and psychological deterioration of a victim," the authors write. Although sexual assault of elders has likely been ongoing throughout time, it also is a contemporary public health issue requiring increased awareness, comprehensive and sensitive assessment, and a strong foundational understanding of interventions that can promote adaptive coping and mental health. In direct response to this need, this paper reports on descriptive data from elder victims to answer the research question: What post-trauma symptoms can be noted in records of elder victims of sexual assault?

On the Web >>

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  GAO Study: "Prevalence of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, and Stalking"
U.S. Government Accountability Office, GAO-07-148R / November 2007

"Current national data collection efforts cover portions of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking among different segments of the population. Because the efforts use different definitions and vary in scope, they cannot be combined and leveraged to determine the nationwide prevalence of these categories of crime. The absence of comprehensive nationwide prevalence information somewhat limits the ability to make informed policy and resource allocation decisions about the statutory requirements and programs created to help address these four categories of crime and victims."

On the Web >>

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Note: Scholarly literature is often published online before print publication. Check individual publisher sites for full-text availability. Many publishers offer pay-per-article service.

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

Trends and Statistics

Long Term Care in America

…Many fear that the country is on the brink of a national crisis in care. "One out of five people are going to be older adults," says Dr. Jeffrey Farber, a geriatrician at Mount Sinai, "and there's not really anyone trained to care for them."

Living Old, PBS Frontline/Nov 26 2006

Numbers to ponder…

  • It is estimated that by 2050, 19 million older Americans will need long term care, more than twice the number needing long term care now.
  • In the coming decade, experts predict an additional 1.9 million direct care workers will be needed to meet the demand.
  • Nearly 30 percent of nursing homes now average less than 2.75 hours per patient per day, the minimum recommended by the federal government.
  • The long term care workforce is among the lowest paid in the nation.
  • Annual turnover rates in nursing homes approaches 50 percent for most staff categories and, depending on the tightness of the labor market, may exceed 100 percent in certain areas as positions must be filled multiple times during a year.
  • Only 43.3 percent of nursing home aides engage in year-round, full-time employment. Even fewer home care aides (34.3%) do so.
  • Annual turnover rates in home care range from 40 to 60 percent.

Source: Out of the Shadows: Envisioning a Brighter Future for Long-Term Care in America, Brown University Report for the National Commission for Quality Long-Term Care, 2006

Funding Opportunities

U.S Department of Justice
National Institute of Justice Seeks to Improve Response to Intimate Partner Violence

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has issued a solicitation for research & evaluation proposals focused on intimate partner violence, stalking, and custody issues. High priority areas include studying and evaluating innovative prosecution strategies and advancing research and understanding of strategies for batterer intervention.

Projects also may focus on a specific population, such as women with cognitive, developmental, or physical disabilities; elderly women; women living in institutional settings; or ethnic, racial, and language minority groups, including immigrants.

Application Deadline: January 23, 2007

More information >>

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Call for Concept Papers
OVW FY 2007 Education, Training and Enhanced Services to End Violence Against and Abuse of Women with Disabilities Grant

The Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) has released a call for papers as the first step in the process of selecting six to fifteen multidisciplinary teams that will be funded under the Disability Grant Program in FY 2007. Awards will be made as cooperative agreements for up to $750,000 over a three-year period. The focus of the Disability Grant Program is on capacity building and creating true multidisciplinary, collaborative teams to address violence and abuse of women with disabilities and enhance direct services to such individuals.

Application Deadlines:

  • Letters of Intent: December 11, 2006
  • Concept Papers: January 19, 2007

More information >>

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OVW Stop Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program

The Office of Violence Against Women has announced it is seeking applications for the 2007 Stop Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program. Priorities for 2007 include: 1) support for community-driven initiatives to address the needs of underserved populations, including people with disabilities and elder victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking; and 2) projects addressing sexual assault and stalking through service expansion; development and implementation of protocols; training for judges, other court personnel, prosecutors, and law enforcement; and development of coordinated community responses to violence against women.

STOP grants are intended for use by states and territories; state, local, and tribal courts, Indian tribal governments, units of local government; and nonprofit, nongovernmental victim services programs.

Application Deadline: January 8, 2007

More information >>

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Resources for Grant Writers

Distance Learning Professional Development

New Training to Help Protect Elders from Financial Abuse

Elder Financial Protection Network, a San Francisco-based nonprofit dedicated to elder financial abuse prevention, announced last month the release of a new training program for financial institution employees, called Be Wise: Recognize and Report Elder Abuse.

Available in DVD or video format, the program starts with an overview of the California Financial Elder Abuse Reporting Act of 2005 (SB 1018), and then moves into a discussion of:

  • Why Is Elder Financial Abuse Growing?
  • Typical Scenarios
  • The Perpetrators
  • Why Are the Elderly Targets?
  • The Elements of Consent
  • Red Flags for Financial Abuse
  • Possible Intervention Strategies
  • How to Report Suspected Abuse

Additional training resources are available in a companion toolkit. Included in the toolkit are a curriculum PowerPoint, sample company policy, SB 1018 tip sheet, new California reporting form, and reporting resources directory.

Proceeds from the sale of Be Wise training products are reinvested into community education and prevention initiatives, primarily for moderate and low-income seniors.

For more information, visit or call (415) 897-9555.

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University of Missouri-Kansas City Center on Aging Studies Without Walls™
Myths & Realities About Caregiving

For newcomers to the field, families, and elders, this is an excellent online informational and educational resource on family caregiving. Topics covered in this course include:

  • Elder Mistreatment
  • Ethical Decisions: Planning vs. Crisis
  • Caregivers: Rewards and Stressors
  • Family Issues and Relationships
  • Mental Health and Aging
  • Special Populations

The Center on Aging Studies Without Walls is a joint venture between the Center on Aging Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and University of Missouri Outreach and Extension

On the Web >>

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NCEA National Training Library: A Gold Mine of Information

If you plan to offer training, you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Be sure to check the NCEA Training Library.

The library's holdings are varied and include many printed and audiovisual items of interest. Categories include: Abuse/Neglect/Exploitation; Caregiving; Case Management; Legal Matters; General Information; Health/Mental Health; and Training Techniques.

The National Training Library is also available for technical assistance on developing and implementing training programs.

Calendar/Coming Up

February 2-4, 2007
5th Annual Center CSWE Gero-Ed Forum
National Center for Gerontological Social Work Education
Francis Marion Hotel
Charleston, South Carolina

Register online >>

Past Gero-Ed Forum highlights
A sampling of the 2006 poster sessions:

  • Effects of Christmas on Elder Abuse Reports: A Preliminary Study
  • Gay and Grey: Issues of Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation
  • Elder Abuse in the Puerto Rican Context: Practice issues
  • Dementia Caregivers in South Korea: The Caregiver Stress Process and Elder Abuse
  • Elder Abuse and Neglect and Social Work Literature
  • Alone, Impoverished Elders and Guardianships: Activating Protective and Humane Responses

On the Web >>

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Check our Web site often for more dates and events

In Brief

Elder Abuse Conference: A Call for Workshop Proposals

Legal Assistance for Seniors of Alameda County, California invites proposals for its 2007 Annual Elder Abuse Conference. The conference will be held in Oakland, California on April 30-May 1 at the Hilton Oakland Airport Hotel.

Areas of interest include:

  • Elder Abuse Litigation Skills
  • Financial Elder Abuse
  • Real Estate Fraud
  • Restitution and Asset Recovery
  • Undue Influence, Capacity, Ethics

December 8 is the deadline for submitting proposals. Workshop sessions are 90 minutes.

More info >>

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Identity Crime Web Site Launched

On October 16, 2006, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and Bank of America Corporation (BAC) announced a three-year partnership to educate both the public and law enforcement officials in the U.S. and abroad on ways to prevent and respond to identity crime.

Major goals of the initiative are to raise citizen awareness, advance investigative techniques, and further a coordinated response.

As their first joint project, a new online resource has been launched. Over time, the IACP and BAC will develop a nationwide strategy aimed at further raising citizen awareness of identity crimes and the steps to prevent being victimized, as well as bolstering law enforcement's expertise in conducting investigations.

For more info, visit

Additional resources

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Identity Theft and Fraud: Perpetrator "Tactics"
Common                                                                   Serious
  • Camera cell phone (surreptitiously taking a picture of a credit or ATM card)
  • Internet scams
  • Convict labor taking catalog orders
  • Social engineering ("phisher" fraudulently gets passwords &/or credit card details via instant message or email)
  • Instant credit at cash registers
  • Hotel key cards
  • Online order takers, reservation clerks
  • Skimming (dishonest merchant secretly copies magnetic strip on back of credit card to make a counterfeit)
  • Office "creeps": impersonating employees
  • State ID card theft
  • Transactional fraud (crimes-of-persuasion, e.g., telemarketing fraud)
  • Non-transactional fraud (e.g., financial institution shares lists of a consumer's assets and liabilities with other companies)
  • Dumpster diving (digging through discarded trash for credit card offers, personal papers)
  • Burglary
  • Mail theft
  • Physical entry
  • Inside fraud
  • Security breaches (high tech)
  • Credit pre-approval
  • Mortgage fraud
  • True name ID theft (e.g., using stolen SSN to obtain credit & then filing for bankruptcy in the name of the victim)
  • Transactional (e.g., Ponzi scam; Nigerian advance fee scam)
  • Hacking
  • Personal fraud victimization (e.g., entrusting a "new friend")
  • Identity takeover (e.g., using fake & assumed identities, including IDs of the deceased, to obtain false ID documents)
  • Networked (informal & organized, e.g., online gambling, securities fraud)
  • Anonymity (via online forums and chat groups)
  • Vulnerable victims (targeting)
  • Multi-jurisdictional (e.g., large-scale fraud ring)

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
A National Strategy to Combat Identity Theft, Washington, DC, May 2006

See also, U.S. Department of Justice, "Fact Sheet: The Work of the President's Identity Theft Task Force," September 19, 2006

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"Keeping the Elderly Safe in the 21st Century"

The National Crime Prevention Council has released a series of high quality PowerPoint presentations, which can be customized to support crime prevention outreach and public education locally. The entire 15-part series is now available online.

Of major interest, "Keeping Elderly Safe in the 21st Century," aimed at audiences of caregivers, explores issues and concerns of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation; telemarketing fraud; identity theft; personal safety; and emergency preparedness.

"Seniors and Crime Prevention," aimed at an older audience, reviews the demographics, explores older people's fears about crime, and looks at the major crimes against seniors, including financial crimes, property crimes, violent crimes, and elder abuse. Also includes many tips.

The National Center on Elder Abuse served as a resource for portions of these two presentations.

PowerPoint trainings and leader's guide:

NCEA Newsletter

is published 10 times a year by


November/December 2006
Volume 9, No. 2
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.

NCEA always welcomes news from the field. Please direct comments and suggestions to the editor, Susan Coombs Ficke


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

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