Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Financial Exploitation Initiative

One of  the major initiatives of the Program on Aging concerns the troubling problem of elder abuse. Elder abuse is an intentional or negligent act by a person that causes harm, or a serious risk of harm, to an older person. This may take the form of physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, neglect or financial exploitation. Although its true prevalence is unknown, available evidence dictates the conclusion that it is widespread and serious. Older persons whose cognitive functioning is impaired due to Alzheimer's and other dementias are especially likely to become elder abuse victims.


Elder Abuse Task Force, Elder Abuse Legislation and Elder Abuse Education and Training

The Resource Center's activities related to elder abuse include support for the work of the Iowa Elder Abuse Task Force. This Task Force was established in 2012 pursuant to a mandate of the Iowa General Assembly to make recommendations for the improvement and implementation of Iowa elder abuse laws. Professor Gittler, in her capacity as Director of the Resource Center, is a member of the Task Force. Professor Gittler prepared recommendations regarding the financial exploitation of the elderly for the Task Force, which were incorporated into the 2012 Task Force report to the General Assembly.

During the General Assembly's 2013 session, at the request of legislators, she reviewed and commented on proposed elder abuse legislation. During the 2013 session, the General Assembly passed and the Governor signed into law the Elder Abuse Relief Act (SF2239), which will be codified as Section 235F of the Iowa Code. Since the enactment of this legislation the Resource Center staff has made available education and training opportunities with respect to the new elder abuse legislation including a presentation at the 2014 annual meeting of the Iowa Judges' Association.

To view Elder Abuse Relief Act, Iowa Code Section  235F (SF2239), click here.

To view Presentation regarding at Judges' Association meeting, click here.

Elder Justice Roadmap Project

At the federal level the Resource Center is supporting the work of the Elder Justice Roadmap Project. This project was begun in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Justice to identify federal policy, practice, and research priorities in the field of elder abuse. Professor Buckwalter, Co-Director of the Resource Center, was appointed as a member of the Project Advisory Group and contributed her expertise to its work. Resource Center staff prepared a bibliography on elder financial exploitation for the Elder Justice Roadmap Project.

To view Elder Financial Exploitation Bibliography, click here.

To view Elder Justice Roadmap project, click here.