In examining aspects of the Virginia adult protective services' (APS') investigations of and responses to reported elder maltreatment, this study addressed elderly victims' perceptions of the investigations; their refusal of APS services; and any differences in findings by the type of maltreatment (financial exploitation, physical abuse, neglect, and hybrid financial exploitation).
The study found that many aspects of the APS investigation and response differed by the type of maltreatment involved. Although elderly victims were generally cooperative and satisfied with the APS intervention, 38 percent would have preferred that APS not investigate their cases. The victims responded differently to offers of assistance depending on the type of abuse involved; victims of physical abuse were the most likely to refuse services. The study suggests that new approaches may be required in cases that involve the physical abuse of an elderly victim, including collaboration between APS and domestic-violence advocates, as well as the provision of services for perpetrators of physical abuse. Data for this study were collected from interviews with 71 APS caseworkers and 56 of elderly victims who experienced substantiated elder maltreatment, as well as from a State database that contained 2,142 substantiated cases of elderly abuse. Future research might focus on why elderly victims refuse services, so as to improve intervention approaches. (Publisher abstract modified)