Shades of Charles Dickens: Elder Abuse Policy Past, Present, and Yet to Be
The path from the societal definition of elder abuse as a family matter or, at best, a social problem to the societal recognition of and action on elder abuse as a crime has been long, arduous, and circuitous. Although elder abuse dates back to the beginning of human history, the problem has only recently gained traction as both a political issue and one acknowledged by the general public. Measured against its sister problems of child abuse and intimate partner violence, attention to elder abuse comes in dead last in terms of political awareness and public and private funding for addressing the problem. The belated arrival of elder abuse in the public conscience is emblematic of the problem itself—elder abuse is a complex, wicked problem with contributing factors running the gamut from micro to macro levels of society. The complexity and scope of the problem mean that it must be addressed using a committed, interdisciplinary approach engaging the brightest and most dedicated minds possible. In the chapter on elder abuse that follows, we examine the past, present, and future of the most significant federal laws: the Elder Justice Act, the Older Americans Act, the Violence Against Women Act, and Social Security Block Grants. In addition, we discuss the White House Conference on Aging and the Crime Victims Fund, both of which have played an important part in addressing the issue and problem of elder abuse.
KeywordsCrime victims fund Stakeholders Abuse allegations Financial exploitation Foreign affairs Elder justice Federal regulations Ombudsman program Lasting injuries Social services
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