One in ten older adults are abused each year. Some of these older victims are in dangerous situations and need a temporary place to live or new permanent housing. Yet, many shelters and transitional housing programs are ill-equipped to meet the unique needs of older survivors.

To better understand and address the needs of older adults in crises, in 2016, the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL) facilitated a Roundtable on Emergency Shelter and Transitional Housing for Victims of Abuse in Later Life. The Roundtable was jointly hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice, through the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Administration for Community Living (ACL), and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program (FVPSA).

The Roundtable participants were a select group of experts in the elder abuse and domestic violence fields, including: four older survivors who had utilized emergency shelters and transitional housing; nine local victim service providers; two representatives from state domestic violence coalitions; eight national OVW funded technical assistance providers; and, more than a dozen policy and program specialists representing federal agencies responsible for administering victim services. Each of these perspectives revealed critical insights on how older survivors perceive and receive various types of victim services, and how advocates at local, state, and national levels can improve the available options.

We are pleased to share a new article, authored by Bonnie Brandl, Cailin Crockett, and Juanita Davis, that reveals the lessons learned from the testimonies of the survivors, advocates and experts at the Roundtable, summarizes the Roundtable’s overarching themes, and offers recommendations for programmatic responses to better serve older adults experiencing abuse, so they may find a safe place to heal, and ultimately, to thrive.




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NCALL is proud to announce the release of the Abuse in Later Life Education Series for Advocates. This new training series consists of 13 instructional video clips featuring national experts discussing key topics advocates encounter when serving older survivors. The training modules are formatted as videos, each less than 30 minutes in length. A worksheet accompanies each module with links to additional resources and questions for advocates and programs to consider as they incorporate key content into their practice. To learn more, please visit:
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Recognizing the Emergency Housing & Shelter Needs of Older Survivors on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

By: Ashley Slye, Senior Transitional Housing Specialist, NNEDV & Bonnie Brandl, Director, National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL)

Today, communities across the United States and around the world recognize World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: an international observance held on June 15 each year to bring visibility to interpersonal violence experienced by older adults. A serious public health and human rights issue that too often goes ignored, elder abuse can include physical, psychological, or sexual abuse; neglect; and financial exploitation. Since approximately two-thirds of older victims are female, elder abuse is a subset of violence against women. For example, the most extensive national study to-date found that 1 in 10 community-residing older adults reported experiencing at least one form of abuse the previous year—and the majority of cases of physical violence involved female victims with spouses as perpetrators. In addition to being intimate partners, perpetrators of abuse in later life are likely to be family members, paid and unpaid caregivers, and other persons in a relationship where the victim and society expect compassion and caring. Even when the abuser is not an intimate partner, the dynamics of power and control commonly experienced by younger victims and other forms of abuse may be present.

Domestic violence advocates throughout the country are therefore well-positioned to provide older survivors of abuse with critical trauma-informed services and support, from safety planning, to emergency shelter and transitional housing. Many local programs are doing important work to ensure that survivors across the lifespan benefit from their expertise, as the most recent NNEDV Census shows that 81% of domestic violence shelters provided advocacy and services for older victims throughout the year in 2016. Still, we know from our work with advocates and listening to older survivors that common challenges exist for victims aged 50 and older in accessing domestic violence programs—particularly when it comes to securing accessible emergency shelter and transitional housing. Some obstacles older survivors experience include:

  • Misalignment between the older survivors’ needs and traditional safety planning: For example, strategies to end all contact with the abuser may not resonate with an older victim who wants to maintain a relationship with the person who is harming them. Often older victims want the abuse to end but they want to safely, and sometimes in a supervised setting, continue some form of contact with a partner of many years, adult child, grandchild, or other family members. 
  • True peer advocacy for older adults who find they are the only survivor of their age group in the program: Adjusting to living with younger women and children can be difficult for older survivors. Some older victims feel invisible or that their unique needs, such as accessing resources like Social Security or Medicare, are not addressed or advocates do not have the tools to address their needs.
  • Accessibility: Shelters or communal transitional housing programs with bunk beds, narrow doors and walkways limiting access for persons using walkers or wheelchairs, inconvenient or unavailable ramps or elevators, and no bars in showers/raised toilets may not be accessible for persons with limited mobility. 
  • Restrictive policies: The ability to live independently is often an eligibility requirement of some domestic violence shelters or transitional housing programs. As a result, persons with dementia or other cognitive limitations as well as older victims who require personal attendants and/or assistance with activities of daily living may be told they are ineligible for services and referred elsewhere.

    Despite these and other challenges, domestic violence programs can modify their practices and policies to better support older survivors. To support your efforts, NCALL is releasing a new resource TODAY, offering DV advocates practical tips and strategies on how to enhance your response to and work with older survivors. The Abuse in Later Life Education Series for Advocates is a series of 13 training modules, each consisting of an instructional video clip featuring national experts on abuse in later life walking through key topics advocates encounter in serving older survivors. Each module explores the themes highlighted in NCALL’s toolkit, Working with Older Survivors of Abuse: A Framework for Advocates, such as domestic and sexual violence in later life, victim-defined advocacy, mandatory reporting, and elder-informed victim services.

    Along with NCALL, NNEDV is committed to supporting domestic violence programs across the country as they provide safety, healing, and recognition of the inherent dignity of survivors across the lifespan. We are excited by this new resource, which will equip advocates with concrete examples, tips, and encouragement for reimagining how simple modifications of their programs and policies can go a long way towards the meaningful inclusion of older survivors. On this World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, it is vital that our field acknowledges the intersection of age with gender-based violence—alongside other factors, such as race, ethnicity, religion, disability, socioeconomic status, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Let us work together to support survivors in all of their diversity.

    To learn more about the resources from the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life, visit:
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Elder abuse is a hidden yet growing problem that impacts older adults of all races, cultures, sexual orientations, social classes, geographic areas, faith communities, mental capacities, and physical abilities. Although definitions of elder abuse vary, the term generally refers to any physical, sexual, or psychological abuse, neglect, abandonment, or financial exploitation of an older person either within a relationship where there is an expectation of trust and/or when an older person is targeted based on age or disability (U.S. DOJ, 2013).

The National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL) is committed to creating a world that respects the dignity of older adults and enhances the safety and quality of life of older victims and survivors of abuse. This June 15th, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, we urge communities to join us in raising awareness about elder abuse and to take action to support older survivors throughout the country.

Here’s a few ways you can get engaged now:

  • Educate yourself and others about elder abuse & abuse in later life.
  • Raise awareness of elder abuse and abuse in later life through social and print media and awareness campaigns.
  • Join the national community of advocates and others committed to promoting respect and dignity across the lifespan by joining NCALL’s advocates’ listserv or e-newsletter list.
  • Take action in your community.

Below we’ve highlighted a selection of events featuring NCALL staff:

  • June 7: Casa de Esperanza will host a Blog Talk Radio Show featuring NCALL Elder Victim Service and Advocacy Coordinator, Ann Turner.
  • June 13: The American Society on Aging (ASA) is hosting a WEAAD webinar, "Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse in Later Life: What You Can Do to Support Older Victims," featuring NCALL Director, Bonnie Brandl.
  • June 15: World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Learn more:

To learn how you can take action, locate WEAAD events near you, or register your own event, we invite you to visit the Administration for Community Living, National Center on Elder Abuse, and USC Center for Elder Mistreatment World Elder Abuse Awareness Day microsite at:

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National Institute on the Prosecution of Elder Abuse
Co-sponsored by the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life, the Office on Violence Against Women, and AEquitas

Location: Des Moines, IA
Dates: August 8-11, 2017

Studies reveal that a significant number of elder abuse cases go unreported, with fewer than 5% disclosed (Lifespan of Greater Rochester, 2011). Furthermore, a significant number of reported cases do not progress through the criminal justice system due to a lack of familiarity with effective investigation and prosecution strategies (Brandl et al., 2007). As a result, it is crucial that prosecutors be properly trained and prepared to collaborate across disciplines to increase victim identification and safety, and ultimately hold more offenders accountable.

The National Institute on the Prosecution of Elder Abuse (NIPEA) is a three-and-one-half-day course designed to challenge prosecutors to reevaluate their approach to prosecuting elder abuse cases. Participants receive training on the dynamics of elder abuse as well as practical skills to successfully prosecute these cases. NIPEA explores the complex issues faced by prosecutors -- balancing offender accountability with the impact of criminal prosecution on victims. In addition to case evaluation and litigation skills, the curriculum examines the benefits of developing a coordinated, victim-centered community response; explains common injuries and relevant medical evidence, providing guidance on the use of medical experts; explores ethical issues confronted by prosecutors; addresses the development and improvement of culturally-specific victim services; and offers prosecutors the ability to redefine outcomes and the very nature of justice in elder abuse cases.

NIPEA will take place at The Drury Inn and Suites in West Des Moines, IA. Fifty-four (54) slots are available, as are limited scholarships to help defray travel and hotel expenses. There is no tuition fee for the institute itself. Attendees qualify for approximately twenty (20) continuing legal education credit hours including at least one (1) hour of ethics credit.

Interested prosecutors may apply to attend NIPEA by completing the survey here. This program is pending final approval from OVW. Please do not make travel arrangements until you have received a confirmation packet from the registrar. If you need assistance completing this survey, please email Nina Reynolds or reach her by phone at 608-237-3454.

Participant comments from past institutes highlight the practical value and outstanding quality of this program:

  • "This has been the best training/series of trainings. Inspiring, substantive, well organized. I feel so grateful to be exposed to it. Thank you for doing these trainings. Amazing."
  • "Fantastic training. [ . . . ] Already motivated to go home and dig in!
  • Good job with case studies. Very practical. As a former educator, I recognize and appreciate the variety of teaching strategies you used.

Please contact Ann Laatsch for more information about this program.

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Date: Thursday, June 15, 2017
Time: 2:00 PM (EST)/1:00 PM (CST)/12:00 PM (MST)/11:00 AM (PST)
Duration: 90 minutes
Cost: Free

Presented by: The U.S Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) and National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL)

Overview: Each day, 10,000 baby boomers turn 65. As the number of older individuals in America increases, unfortunately so does the number of potential victims of elder abuse. Research indicates that one in ten older adults are abused and that two-thirds of elder abuse victims are women. This webinar on June 15 - World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) – will commemorate WEAAD 2017 and the efforts of communities and professional around the county to confront elder abuse. This webinar will also provide participants with a detailed overview of OVW’s Enhanced Training and Services to End Abuse in Later Life grant program. This grant program funds communities across the country to address elder abuse through trainings, services, and a coordinated community response. Participants will hear from previous years’ grantees about the impact the grant program has had on their community’s response to abuse in later life. Participants will also learn about steps they can take to prepare to apply for the grant.

About the presenters:
Janice Green (J.D.) is a Senior Program Specialist with the US Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. Green has worked at the Department for over 18 years and has managed the Enhanced Training and Services to End Abuse in Later Life Grant Program since 2002. She has collaborated with national experts to facilitate the development of national curricula for law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and victim service providers on elder abuse. Green received a B.A. and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia. She is a recipient of the NAPSA Rosalie Wolf Memorial award. She currently lives with her family near Manassas, Virginia.

Juanita Davis (J.D.) is the Program Manager for the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL), a project of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. In her role at NCALL, she provides nationwide leadership, technical assistance, and training to professionals across the country on various topics related to abuse in later life, including creating and enhancing coordinated community response (CCR) and systems change. She also assists in the development training materials and resources related to abuse in later life. She received her law degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Davis also has a Master of Arts in Special Education from San Francisco State University. Davis works in NCALL’s home office in Madison, Wisconsin.

Who should enroll: The webinar is open to all who are interested in learning more about the OVW Enhanced Training and Services to End Abuse in Later Life grant program funding opportunity.

Registration: Registration for this webinar will open on Monday, May 1, 2017 and conclude on Monday, June 12, 2017. Registration information can be found at:

Questions: Please contact Juanita Davis at NCALL if you have additional questions regarding this webinar:

Juanita Davis
Program Manager
National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL)
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May is Older Americans Month!

We invite you to join the Administration for Community Living (ACL) and others in honoring and celebrating the lives, strengths, contributions, and accomplishments of older Americans during Older Americans Month (OAM). ACL designed the 2017 OAM theme, Age Out Loud, to give aging a new voice—one that reflects what today’s older adults have to say.

This year’s theme shines a light on many important trends. More than ever before, older Americans are working longer, trying new things, and engaging in their communities. They’re taking charge, striving for wellness, focusing on independence, and advocating for themselves and others. What it means to age has changed, and OAM 2017 is a perfect opportunity to recognize and celebrate what getting older looks like today.

Find materials, resources, and additional information by visiting ACL’s OAM webpage:

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Since 1981, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) has challenged communities to extend their vision of crime victims’ rights and services to reach every victim of crime. The 2017 theme— Strength. Resilience. Justice.—reflects a vision for the future in which all victims are strengthened by the response they receive, organizations are resilient in response to challenges, and communities are able to seek collective justice and healing.

Find campaign materials, artwork, crime and victimization fact sheets, and more by visiting

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Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), first observed nationally in April 2001, is a month-long effort to end sexual violence. In April, survivors, advocates, and allies engage the greater community in awareness and prevention efforts. We invite you to explore these SAAM resources:

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Next Avenue Health & Caregiving Editor, Emily Gurnon, recently published the article, "How to Detect and Respond to Elder Abuse." This piece features NCALL Director, Bonnie Brandl, whom Gurnon saw lead a workshop at last week's American Society on Aging annual conference in Chicago. You can read the article in its entirety by following this link.  

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