The Department of Justice needs to improve the planning and assessment of its efforts to address elder abuse, including neglect and exploitation, the Government Accountability Office said in a report released Friday.
Specifically, the 49-page report recommended that Attorney General William Barr develop and document goals and outcome measures for the department’s elder justice efforts to provide the department with a clear direction and a way to evaluate those efforts.
Researchers estimate that as many as 10% of U.S. adults aged 60 or more years experience abuse each year, the report noted.
“Elder abuse may involve physical, sexual, emotional, or financial abuse or neglect,” the authors wrote. “It can occur by family, guardians, or caregivers as well as by strangers and international criminal enterprises, which operate schemes for monetary gain or to facilitate other criminal activities.”
In the three-page response to the GAO’s recommendation, Associate Deputy Attorney General Antionette Bacon, who also is the national elder justice coordinator, said that the Justice Department is forming a subcommittee of its Elder Justice Working Group to explore developing new goals or clarifying existing goals. The Elder Justice Working Group also will determine whether additional or different outcome measures might better track the department’s progress in its elder justice efforts, she said.
The report was sent to the leaders of the Foreign Relations / Affairs, Judiciary and Aging committees of the Senate and House of Representatives.