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Pathways to Safety: An Examination of Federal and State-Level Barriers and Facilitators to Elder Abuse Reporting and Response

NCJ Number
Date Published
67 pages

This research report aims to fill gaps in current knowledge and facilitate improved communication between Adult Protective Services and reporters of elder abuse; it provides a project summary, including discussion of project staff and participants, research methodology, and outcomes, with five appendices with supporting documentation.


The authors of this paper report on a research project aimed at addressing unreported cases of elder abuse, and specifically exploring what guidance policy and decision-makers need in order to address barriers to reporting. Specifically, the authors’ research sought to improve understanding of elder abuse reporting pathways, facilitators, barriers, and outcomes. Over the course of their research, the authors report achieving three main objectives: conducting an environmental scan of policies and practices across states; conducting an in-depth case study of policy changes made in the state of Massachusetts; and developing recommendations for improving communication between Adult Protective Services (APS) and reporters based on findings from the first two objectives. The project was guided by two main research questions: what the legal, ethical, and practical barriers and facilitators are to establishing feedback loops about reported cases of potential elder abuse; and how regulations are interpreted and put into practice at the state and local levels in Massachusetts. The authors discuss their research design, methods, and analytical data analysis techniques, expected applicability of the research, limitations, outcomes, and recommendations.

Date Published: January 1, 2023