NYS Seal





Abuse and exploitation of vulnerable elderly citizens.


The purpose of this hearing is to gather information about the abuse and exploitation of individuals over the age of 65 in New York State including information about risk factors, prevention, prevalence and model response structures at the state and local levels.

Assembly Hearing Room
Room 1923, 19th Floor
250 Broadway
New York, New York
Thursday, February 7, 2007
10:00 AM

The physical and emotional abuse, financial exploitation and neglect of seniors is unacceptable. In New York State, an estimated 30,000 seniors are victims of some sort of abuse or exploitation. This number, however is commonly understood to be low due to factors that make elder abuse and exploitation a hidden and underreported crime. Substance abuse, financial stress, emotional stress, lack of social and other community supports, inadequate training for caregivers, increased medical and emotional needs of the elder person and a family history of violence all increase the risks of senior victimization. Statewide demographic changes, a higher reliance on home and community based care and an increase in longevity leading to more medically complex and frail elders may also increase the incidence abuse and exploitation of seniors. New York State as a whole is not prepared to safeguard seniors from harm or to address the multifaceted needs that arise from the elderly victimization.

The Oneida County Elder Abuse Coalition reports that one out of fourteen persons over the age of 60 may experience some sort of abuse. Neglect is by far the most common form of abuse with financial exploitation occurring almost as often. Family members are the source of elder abuse in approximately half of the cases reported. This abuse is often not reported by the victim due to guilt and shame and the perceived belief that the victim is dependent upon the perpetrator who will institutionalize the elder if abuse is reported. Many times the victim experiences a high rate of social and physical isolation limiting their ability to communicate with anyone other than their caregivers. Presently, many communities are not aware of the signs of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation; furthermore, little information is available to community members who identify abuse as to what actions would be helpful to the senior victim.

While Protective Services for Adults, commonly known as Adult Protective Services, (APS), responds to reports of suspected physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, self-neglect and financial exploitation, not all seniors are eligible for these services. Likewise, APS does not always have appropriate resources to investigate and potentially intervene in all of the potential cases and the growing complexity of the cases. In New York City, between 2002 and 2006, the number of cases accepted by APS increased by 5,647 - almost doubling the number of cases. Despite this increase no additional staff was hired during this time period leaving many seniors unprotected. This service is clearly not equipped to respond to the current and future needs of seniors at risk of victimization unless modifications and/or additions in training and resources are made across the state.

The purpose of this hearing is to gather information about the growing incidence of elder abuse and the efficacy of the state's response to that abuse. The Committee is interested in gaining a comprehensive and multifaceted portrayal of the community needs regarding the prevention, investigation, intervention and resolution of elderly abuse and exploitation.

Please see the reverse side for a list of subjects to which witnesses may direct their testimony, and for a description of the bills which will be discussed at the hearing.

Persons wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committee at the above hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation.

Oral testimony will be limited to 5 minutes duration. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committee will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to Committee staff as early as possible. In the absence of a request, witnesses will be scheduled in the order in which reply forms are postmarked.

Ten copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. The Committee would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements.

In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committee's interest in hearing testimony from all sources.

In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz
Committee on Aging


  1. What risks factors increase the potential for abuse? What can be done to decrease these risk factors? How will the changes in demographics and increased number of seniors aging in their own homes affect these risk factors?

  2. What community based prevention models have proven to be effective?

  3. How can communities and the public gain information to identify and appropriately respond to suspected abuse?

  4. What existing community resources can be used to respond to abuse? What resources may need to be developed to respond to abuse?

  5. What statewide policy recommendations can be initiated to ensure that seniors are protected from emotional and physical abuse and financial exploitation?

  6. What role should health professionals play in the identification and response to abuse? Are health professionals adequately trained to play this role?

  7. What role should law enforcement officials play in the identification and response to abuse? Are law enforcement officials adequately trained to play this role?

  8. What role should the staff of financial institutions play in the identification and response to financial exploitation? Are these professionals adequately trained to play this role?

  9. Are there adequate legal resources available to seniors after they have been victimized? How could the court system be modified to be more responsive and sensitive to the needs of seniors?

  10. How can we enhance existing legal and non-legal structures such as: power of attorney, guardianship, crime victims board, neighborhood watch groups, etc?

  11. How can existing resources in the long term care system be used to prevent abuse, protect seniors and assist victims? Can structures be put in place to provide outreach, training, screening, shelters or respite?

  12. What community collaborations are taking place in local areas that could be replicated in other areas?

  13. What projects are currently underway to enhance the understanding of the prevalence of abuse and the gaps in services to seniors?

  14. Are professional reporting requirements needed regarding the abuse of seniors? Who should be responsible for reporting such abuse? What entity should be responsible for screening, accepting and responding to the report? What should be reported? What is the appropriate response to each type of abuse? Should sanctions be imposed for lack of reporting?

  15. What enhancements could be made to the Penal Code to hold perpetrators accountable? How do we ensure justice is the final outcome?

  16. Is New York State adequately funding the Adult Protective Services Program? What statutory changes are needed to ensure that APS can fulfill their requirements? Are APS staff adequately trained?


Persons wishing to present testimony at the public hearing on December 17th are requested to complete this reply form by Thursday, December 13th and mail it to:

Jennifer Best
Legislative Analyst
Assembly Committee on Aging
Room 522- Capitol
Albany, New York 12248
E-mail: Bestj@assembly.state.ny.us
Phone: (518) 455-4371
Fax: (518) 455-4693

box I plan to attend the following public hearing on the Abuse and Exploitation of Vulnerable Elderly Citizens to be conducted by the Assembly Committee on Aging on Monday, December 17th.

box I plan to make a public statement at the hearing. My statement will be limited to 5 minutes, and I will answer any questions which may arise. I will provide 10 copies of my prepared statement.


I will address my remarks to the following subjects:

box I do not plan to attend the above hearing.

box I would like to be added to the Committee mailing list for notices and reports.

box I would like to be removed from the Committee mailing list.


I will require assistance and/or handicapped accessibility information. Please specify the type of assistance required:








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