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Elder Justice


Elder abuse, also known as elder mistreatment, generally refers to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act that causes harm or creates a serious risk of harm to an older person by a family member, caregiver, or other person in a trust relationship.

Older adults are victims of the same crimes as other groups, but they are also at increased risk for certain types of victimization, including financial victimization, neglect, and physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. Persons with degenerative diseases or cognitive disabilities—including dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s are particularly vulnerable to crime, abuse, and neglect.

Victim service providers and allied professionals can play a critical role in supporting the recovery and life changes an older adult may need to make after being victimized. Victims who are treated with dignity and respect cope more effectively with the pain of their victimization and achieve a better recovery. They may also be more willing to report abuse if they are victimized again.

The following resources provide information on elder abuse and mistreatment.

Many OVC publications and products are available in hardcopy and can be ordered from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS), OVC's information clearinghouse. You can search for and order available OVC resources via the NCJRS Publications/Products page. While these resources are free, shipping and handling fees may apply. View the Shopping Cart Help at NCJRS for more information.

Visit our Help for Victims microsite to learn about resources and services for victims of crime. Assistance may come in the form of financial reimbursement or victim services. Funding support for state assistance and compensation programs comes from the Crime Victims Fund administered by the OVC as authorized by the Victim of Crime Act.

Another source of help is your local victim/witness assistance program. You may contact the VictimConnect helpline by phone at 855–484–2846 or online chat for a referral in your area.

Find out more in this brochure, What You Can Do If You Are a Victim of Crime, which includes a brief overview of OVC, your rights, and where you can get help.

If you or someone you know is in life-threatening danger, call 911.

If the danger is not immediate, but it is suspected that abuse has occurred or is occurring, call the non-emergency number for the local police department or see the Report Abuse or Find Help section of the Department of Justice's Elder Justice Initiative website for state-specific contacts and resources.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of elder fraud, contact the National Elder Fraud Hotline toll free at 833–372–8311. The hotline is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. eastern time. Services are available for speakers of English, Spanish, and other languages.

For additional information and resources, also see the National Center on Elder Abuse website.

Date Created: June 1, 2020