Wednesday, January 24, 2007

NIJ Funds Study on Financial Abuse

The National Institute of Justice recently awarded a 2-year, $300,000 grant to University of Virginia law professor Thomas Hafemeister and psychiatry professor Shelly Jackson to study financial elder abuse in Virginia. Hafemeister, whose “Financial Abuse of the Elderly in Domestic Settings” appeared as an appendix in the National Research Council’s Elder Mistreatment: Abuse Neglect, and Exploitation in an Aging America, is also the director of legal studies at UV’s Institute of Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy.

Working with the state’s APS program, investigators will interview elders who have recently been victimized, their caseworkers, and their caregivers about what happened and why, the state’s response, and how effective those interviewed thought the response was. The study aims to shed light on how financial exploitation compares to other forms of abuse and to get different parties’ perspectives on cases. Interviewers will include students from the law school and grad students in psychology and counseling.

Thanks to Readers for the Following:

Special thanks to researcher Ola Barnett for her detailed and thoughtful response to my January 7, 07 post, The "De-feminization" of domestic violence and what it means for elder abuse. Ola is Distinguished Professor Emerita of Psychology at Pepperdine University and the co-author of Sage Publication’s Family Violence Across the Lifespan: An Introduction. To read it, use the “blog archive” on the right to retrieve the original post and scroll down to comments.

Thanks too to Elizabeth Podnieks, Assistant Professor of English at Ryerson University, for alerting me to the July-August bulletin of the International Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA), which describes the first World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Events ranged from balloon races in the UK, to quilt-making in Canada, to wearing white socks in South Africa. The bulletin describes other events in Uganda, Sweden, Gambia, Nigeria, Israel, Albania, Korea, Ireland, India, and Cameroon, which included theatrical performances, proclamations, and educational events. The bulletin is on INPEA’s website at

And to Laura Ivkovich, Program Specialist for the Office for Victims of Crime who alerted me to the “Enhanced Training and Services to End Violence and Abuse of Women Later in Life Program. The application deadline is February 7, 2007. For more information, see

And to Joan Allen, coordinator of the Ventura County Financial Abuse Specialist Team, for sending "Fighting Financial Fraud," a new video the team produced with funding from the Archstone Foundation. Four scenarios are presented in which elders fall prey to identity theft, an investment scam, a door-to-door sales scam, and telemarketing fraud. In each case, victims are given a “second chance”; the scenes are replayed and the victims avoid abuse by taking simple precautions. The CD is available for viewing at

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