Elder Abuse - Elder Justice

Reporting Abuse:

**All persons are required by law to report all cases of suspected Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation to either the nearest APS office or to Law Enforcement.**

You do not need to prove that abuse is occurring; it is up to the professionals to investigate suspicions.

If you think the Elder Abuse is life threatening - Call 911
March 2009

National Elder Mistreatment Study


Elder maltreatment or abuse is a public health & a justice concern


An elderly person is abused every 5 seconds!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year, hundreds of thousands of adults over the age of 60 are abused, neglected, or financially exploited. In the United States alone, over 500,000 older adults are believed to be abused or neglected each year. This number translates to more than 124,000 elders in Indiana that are believed to be abused each year. These are conservative estimates and the true number of crimes of elder abuse is probably much larger.

What is Elder Abuse?


The CDC defines elder abuse as "intentional or neglectful acts by a caregiver or trusted individual that lead to, or may lead to harm of a vulnerable elder."

Who is at Risk?

  • Individuals over 60 in their home, in nursing homes, or in other institutions

  • Seniors of all socioeconomic groups, cultures, and races

  • Women and “older” elders are more likely to be victimized

  • Elders with dementia

  • Elders with mental health and substance abuse issues

  • Elders who are isolated


Types of Abuse and How to Detect it


There are five types of maltreatment that occur in people over the age of 60. The information below was provided by CDC.

  1. Physical abuse includes the use of force to threaten or physically injure a vulnerable elder (signs include slap marks, unexplained bruises, pressure marks, and cigarette burns/blisters)

  2. Emotional abuse harms an elder's self-worth or emotional well being and includes verbal attacks, threats, rejection, isolation, or belittling acts that cause or could cause mental anguish, pain, or distress to a senior (signs include withdrawal from normal activities and unexplained changes in alertness)

  3. Sexual abuse involves an elder in sexual contact that is forced, tricked, threatened, or otherwise coerced (signs include bruises around the breasts or genital area and unexplained sexually transmitted diseases).

  4. Exploitation of financial income or assets includes theft, fraud, misuse or neglect of authority, and use of undue influence as a lever to gain control over an older person’s money or property (signs include sudden changes in finance and accounts, altered wills/trusts, unusual bank withdrawals, and loss of property)

  5. Neglect is caused by a caregiver’s failure or refusal to provide for a vulnerable elder’s safety, physical, or emotional needs (signs include pressure ulcers, filth, lack of medical care, malnutrition, and dehydration). (Neglect can be self-inflicted.)

  6. Abandoment happens when a caregiver leaves an elder alone and no longer provides care.


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