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Bruising as a Forensic Marker of Physical Elder Abuse

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2005, $375,655)

The existence of the nation's only Elder Abuse Forensic Center gives physicians and gerontologists from the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine a unique and unprecedented opportunity to systematically document bruising known to have occurred in elders who have been physically abused. The goals of this project are to: (1) provide practical information to medical, forensic, and law enforcement personnel; and (2) advance the science on the forensic markers of physical elder abuse. The research questions guiding the project are: (1) In cases of confirmed physical elder abuse, what percentage of the victims are bruised? (2) What are the location, initial color, number of bruises, and victim-stated cause of bruises; (3) Are there systematic differences between bruises in older adults who have not been abused as compared to older adults who have been physically abused? In order to answer these three questions, the project will: (1) Identify cases of suspected physical elder abuse from Adult Protective Services, Law Enforcement, and the Emergency Department; (2) Determine the likelihood that the physical abuse occurred in the reported case; (3) Conduct skin examinations of older adults who have reportedly been the victims of physical elder abuse; (4) Document bruising, victim demographics, medications, and functional status in a format parallel to the data collected in the prior NIJ study on accidental bruising. (5) Compare the pattern of bruises in people who have been physically abused with the pattern in those who have not been abused. ca/ncf

Date Created: September 19, 2005