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Elder Abuse

Elder abuse can be divided into two categories:

Domestic Elder Abuse (Domestic Violence) refers to abuse and/or neglect of an older person by someone who has a relationship with them (this could be a spouse, child, sibling or other relative as well as a friend or a caregiver) and occurs in the older person's home or the family member or caregiver's home.

Institutional Elder Abuse refers to the abuse and/or neglect of an older person in a residential facility. Elder abuse is committed by someone who has a legal and/or contractual obligation to provide the victim with care and protection.

Domestic Elder Abuse is Domestic Violence

Spouses or other relatives commit most abuse of persons in later life (according to the report by the Administration on Aging). Findings showed that approximately 90% of abusers were related to the victim and Adult Protective Services (APS) data suggests that adult children are the largest category of abusers.


  • Psychological Abuse: The infliction of mental or emotional suffering. Any act, verbal or non-verbal that is intended to threaten, humiliate, intimidate, provoke, frighten or confuse an older person.
  • Physical Abuse: The use of physical force to inflict injury, pain, or restrain/confine an individual.
  • Sexual Abuse: Any non-consensual sexual activity of any kind with an older person.
  • Financial Abuse: The improper or illegal use of an older person's resources, including money or property.
  • Neglect: The failure to provide the care necessary to maintain the mental and physical well being of an older person. 

The Federal Administration on Aging
Elder Abuse Prevention and Treatment Resources page provides links to elder abuse resources in all states.

National Center on Elder Abuse
Aging in Place
Provides many resources to help find the assistance, publications, data and information you need.

National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
Information about elder abuse.

Washington State’s Adult Protective Services
Includes a description of their services and procedures, definitions and answers to commonly asked questions.

Email the Domestic Violence Victim Advocate.