A significant number of reported cases of elder abuse do not progress through the criminal justice system. Whether an elder abuse case is successfully prosecuted may depend on a prosecuting attorney’s familiarity with effective investigation and prosecution strategies. Further, prosecutors must be able to collaborate across disciplines to increase victim identification, to encourage victims to engage with the criminal system, and to ultimately hold more offenders accountable.

 

Selected Resources

The National Institute on the Prosecution of Elder Abuse (NIPEA)

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. There is no tuition fee for the institute. Attendees may qualify for approximately twenty (20) continuing legal education credit hours including at least one (1) hour of ethics credit.Preference will be given to prosecutor offices participating in the OVW Enhanced Training and Services to End Abuse in Later Life Grant Program (or prosecutor offices which are partnered with organizations that receive such funds). All other applicants/prosecutors will be considered in the order in which they apply.

For more information about the next offering of this program, please contact Ann Laatsch.

This event is sponsored by The Office on Violence Against Women, the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life, and AEquitas.

Other pages in this section

Civil Attorneys
Civil attorneys and other civil legal system professionals work each day to ensure victim safety and hold offenders accountable for harm to older survivors. Their knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of elder abuse, as well as the legal remedies and non-litigation resources available to older survivors, are critical in developing effective intervention strategies to end elder abuse and prevent further harm to older adults.
Domestic and Sexual Violence Advocates and Programs
Many older survivors will seek the help of domestic and sexual violence advocates and programs in dealing with the abuse they experience. Older victims can benefit from many of the services traditionally offered by domestic violence and sexual assault programs such as individual and peer counseling, support groups, emergency and transitional housing, and specialized economic and legal advocacy.
Faith Leaders
Many older Americans turn to their faith communities and faith leaders for help when they are experiencing abuse. Older survivors know and deeply trust faith leaders and community members and often reach out for assistance in times of great need. As a faith leader, you can play a critical role in responding to abuse as well as improving access to services and supports for older survivors in your community.
Healthcare Providers
Health care providers are in a unique position to identify and respond to abuse in later life. Often, many older adults, especially survivors, have an ongoing relationship with one or more health care providers. Primary care physicians, emergency room staff, geriatricians, dentists, physical therapists, and other providers each have an opportunity to see injuries suggesting abuse, neglect, or exploitation, or indicators of trauma.
Law Enforcement
As first responders, law enforcement officers can play a key role in providing an effective response to abuse in later life at the local level. In many cases, law enforcement can use tools already used in domestic violence, stalking, child abuse, and sexual abuse cases to interview victims and gather evidence. Officers can also benefit from learning about abuse in later life and abuse dynamics; appropriate referral resources for intervention and support for older victims; and working collaboratively with other organizations.
Professionals Working in Tribal Communities
In many cultures, elders preserve traditions and share wisdom to help ensure community permanency and balance. Indigenous communities often hold elders in a unique and important social position. The dramatic increase in the number of older individuals has led to concern over the well-being of older adults in these communities.
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