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Laws with Impact on National EA and ALL Policy

Laws with an impact on national elder abuse and abuse in later life policy, resources, research, and practice include the following:

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) funds and authorizes programs to combat domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking, and creates new programs to meet the emerging needs of communities working to prevent violence. 


VAWA End Abuse in Later Life program.  The VAWA includes an Abuse in Later Life program that funds local communities to provide training for justice system professionals and victim services providers; create or enhance coordinate community response teams; and create or enhance services for older victims.  Approximately $3.1 million funds 9 communities a year.  Although the abuse in later life program is one of the smallest under VAWA, it represents the second largest source of funding currently coming into the elder abuse field.  


The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), first authorized in 1984, is the only federal funding source dedicated directly to domestic violence shelters and programs. 

Congress passed a bill to reauthorize FVPSA as part of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) reauthorization through fiscal year 2015 on November 10, 2010.  The bill was signed into law by the President on December 20, 2010.  

The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Fund was created by Congress in 1984 to provide federal support to state and local programs that assist victims of crime.  The VOCA Fund is derived entirely from fines and penalties paid by offenders at the federal level, not taxpayer revenue, and is largely distributed to the states through a formula grant.  The state money funds both crime victim compensation funds and victim assistance grants.

Because the deposits vary from year to year, Congress decided to set a "cap" on the fund, limiting the amount of money that can be distributed from the fund in a given year.  The cap is intended to ensure stable funding over time, despite fluctuation in deposits.  There is approximately $6 billion currently in the fund.  

The Older Americans Act (OAA), like VAWA, was scheduled for reauthorization in 2011.  Many elder justice provisions have never been funded or implemented.  For an overview of the Older Americans Act, go to: http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/NCEAroot/Main_Site/Library/Laws/Older_Americans_Act.aspx.  For information about reauthorization, go to https://www.n4a.org/advocacy/campaigns/OAAreauth2011/.

The Elder Justice Act (EJA), the first comprehensive law ever to address elder abuse, was enacted with the Affordable Care Act in 2010.  Among other things, EJA would create a federal Coordinating Council and an Advisory Board made up of private experts to advise the administration and Congress on elder abuse matters.  It would provide support for adult protective services, fund forensic centers and development of forensic capacity, and various measures to improve long-term-care.

No funds have yet been appropriated for EJA.  For more information, contact the Elder Justice Coalition  http://www.elderjusticecoalition.com/legislation.htm

The recently introduced Elder Abuse Victims Act would address victim services and justice system issues relating to elder abuse and create and Office of Elder Justice at the Department of Justice.  This legislation was introduced by Senator Kohl.