This study examined the effectiveness of five court-focused elder abuse initiatives in improving the response of the criminal justice system to the problem of elder abuse.
Findings from this study on the ability of court-sponsored initiatives to handle elder abuse cases include the following: 1) the initiatives facilitated greater access to justice and better court outcomes for victims through court accommodations, increasing judges' and other professionals' knowledge about elder abuse, and providing emotional support throughout the court process; 2) the initiatives provided services to courts or to victims that enhanced victim safety and prevented further abuse; 3) the initiatives connected victims with services that might help address underlying problems and prevent future court cases; 4) the initiatives provided services to courts or to victims that might facilitate prosecution of elder abuse cases; and 5) the initiatives handled elder abuse cases more efficiently and with fewer delays. The initiatives examined in this study were located in Alameda County, CA; Hillsborough County and Palm Beach County, FL; Jefferson County, KY; and Kings County, NY. Data for the assessment were obtained from a literature review, site visits and interviews with key stakeholders, and court records. The findings indicate that the court-sponsored initiatives improve the handling of elder abuse cases as well as the criminal justice systems' response to the problem. Recommendations for improving data collection efforts and assessment of initiative effectiveness are discussed. Tables, references, and appendixes
Date Published: June 1, 2010