Fighting Elder Abuse and Neglect
GSSW professor testing an intervention to improve outcomes for elder abuse and neglect victims
By the time Colorado’s first-ever mandatory reporting law for at-risk older adults was enacted in 2014, the city of Denver was ready with a multi-disciplinary response to complex, difficult-to-prosecute cases of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.
Two years earlier — when Denver’s law enforcement, criminal justice systems and aging services began developing the response — University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work Associate Professor Leslie Hasche and University of Denver Psychology Professor Anne DePrince were also at the table. Their Traumatic Stress Studies Group blog
The Denver Forensic Collaborative for At-Risk Adults grew from those early meetings. Managed by the City Attorney’s Office,
, associate dean for academic affairs. “Previously, there was no mechanism to coordinate this type of response.
DePrince (the lead investigator), Hasche (the co-investigator) and a team of graduate students from the University of Denver Traumatic Stress Studies Group are now wrapping up a National Institute of Justice-funded randomized controlled trial that sought to measure the impact of the Collaborative on criminal justice and victim outcomes.
Between 2014 and 2018, 272 older adult victims were randomized to the trial, receiving either the Collaborative approach or the standard response. Those participants who were able to consent (n = 40) completed personal interviews. Additionally, service providers completed collateral surveys for 220 victims, and the study also reviewed administrative data for all cases. Among the findings were that older adults have complex service needs that extend beyond elder abuse and neglect, and t
40 people representing 30 agencies continue to meet every month. “District Attorney’s office