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Elder Justice: Medical Forensic Issues Relating to Elder Abuse and Neglect

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2000
168 pages
For each topic considered in the Elder Justice Roundtable on the medical forensic aspects of elder abuse and neglect held on October 18, 2000, this report presents the content of the discussion and the conclusions reached by the participating experts.
A general consensus emerged among the participants that elder abuse and neglect is a national issue that has been overlooked, underreported, and understudied. Consequently, too many cases of elder abuse and neglect go undetected; victims often do not receive adequate treatment and remain at risk; and even when cases are identified, referrals to forensic experts and reports to adult protective services or police are rare. Given the lack of basic scientific research on all aspects of elder abuse and neglect, the experts appealed for a national multidisciplinary research agenda for the purposes of determining the scope of the problem and whether interventions and treatments are effective. They also noted the inability of many frontline responders and others to detect or diagnose elder abuse and neglect; the lack of adequate education and training in this field; the failure of healthcare, social service, and law enforcement professionals to collaborate in responding to elder abuse and neglect; and the absence of a comprehensive effort to address the issue nationwide. The roundtable, entitled "Elder Justice: Medical Forensic Issues Relating to Elder Abuse and Neglect," was attended by 27 experts representing a variety of professions and areas of expertise. The fields represented were geriatrics; forensic pathology; family medicine; psychiatry; pediatrics; gerontology; nursing; social work; psychology; emergency medicine; adult protective services; and Federal, State, and local law enforcement. In addressing the issue of elder abuse and neglect, the discussion focused on detection and diagnosis, application of forensic science, education and training, and research.

Date Published: October 1, 2000