Elder Justice Initiative
In October 2017, the bipartisan Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act (EAPPA) was signed into law. The EAPPA’s purpose is to increase the federal government’s focus on preventing elder abuse and exploitation. Subsequently, the Department of Justice launched the Elder Justice Initiative (EJI). Through the EJI, the Department has participated in hundreds of criminal and civil enforcement actions involving misconduct that targeted vulnerable seniors. The Department has likewise conducted hundreds of trainings and outreach sessions across the country. The EJI website contains useful information, including educational resources about prevalent financial scams so you can guard against them.
If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is standing by at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This U.S. Department of Justice hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim, and identifying relevant next steps. Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with appropriate agencies, and provide resources and referrals, on a case-by-case basis. Reporting is the first step. Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering losses. The hotline is staffed 10am-6pm Eastern Time, Monday-Friday. English, Spanish and other languages are available.
What is Elder Abuse
Elder abuse is an intentional or negligent act by any person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to an older adult. It is a term used to describe five subtypes:
- Physical Abuse
- Psychological Abuse
- Financial Exploitation
- Neglect and Abandonment
- Sexual Abuse
The trauma of elder abuse can result in premature death, the deterioration of physical and psychological health, destruction of social and familial ties, devastating financial loss and more. Older adults are being mistreated in multiple settings (homes, nursing homes, assisted living facilities) by family members, friends and neighbors, professionals, and strangers. The EJI provides several scenarios and red flags to help the public understand the five types of abuse.
An elder abuse case has many stages from the incident through investigation, prosecution, and victim recovery. The EJI seeks to improve outcomes at each stage by providing resources, training and information, and by promoting a multidisciplinary response to elder abuse.