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Innovations Assessment of the Elder Abuse Forensic Center of Orange County, California

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2007
22 pages
This report discusses the outcome of an independent assessment performed by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice (NIJ)of the Elder Abuse Forensic Center in Orange County, CA.
The research findings show that the effectiveness of the Elder Abuse Forensic Center's multidisciplinary response model is lacking, restricted to a limited number of studies, and dominated by process-oriented evaluations. However, the evidence that exists does support the "thesis that multidisciplinary intimate partner violence intervention models provide better service for victims and their children, brings more awareness of domestic violence issues by the criminal justice system, and establishes a high level of cooperation and collaboration among system actors." All of the Center's members stated that the model had improved Orange County's response to elder abuse, had improved and increased the number of cases prosecuted, and had broken down communication barriers between various players. However, there is little empirical data to support the programs effectiveness with the exception of group satisfaction and perception study. The Center's mission is to have unobstructed collaboration of the different professionals to assist agencies (medical, legal, and social services) in being able to effectively and comprehensively identify cases of elder abuse, facilitate prosecution where appropriate, and point out the best legal course and service opportunities for these cases. NIJ evaluated the Center in order to determine the effectiveness of the model used by the Center. The model has been touted as the premier method when responding to a large number of underreported crimes like intimate partner violence, sexual violence, child abuse, and elder abuse. NIJ staff performed intensive interviews with all members of the Center's staff to determine "implementation fidelity" and subsequently compared the comments they provided. Interviews confirmed a steady caseload of 448 Center cases.

Date Published: October 1, 2007