Elder Abuse Forensic Centers Show Promise

Evaluating the Cost Effectiveness of the Elder Abuse Forensic Center Model, the result of an NIJ-funded project, is available to review online.

Michael B. Nichol, Ph.D.; Kathleen H. Wilber, Ph.D.; Joanne Wu, M.S.; Zachary D. Gassoumis, Ph.D.

Over the last several decades, there has been increasing recognition that elder abuse is a growing social problem that results in significant personal and societal costs. One model to address the most complex cases of abuse is the elder abuse forensic center (EAFC). The EAFC model brings together diverse professionals from a variety of fields within the justice system, health care, protective services, and mental health.

This research focused on identifying costs required to process an elder abuse case, as well as the outcomes attained by the EAFC. The authors looked case files from the Los Angeles County EAFC to analyze data on time and labor spent processing cases and achieving outcomes.

The results indicate the EAFC model incurs greater case processing costs but yields large incremental differences in intermediate outcomes compared to usual care, including the proportion of cases that are granted conservatorship, submitted to the public guardian, or successfully prosecuted.

While there were no differences in recurrence rates within one year of case closure, the information gleaned from this research can inform the sustainability of the model and the feasibility of replication across the U.S.

Click here to download a PDF of the report.

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