Forensic Labs Focus On Elder Abuse; Congress May Act


Experts at units like the Elder Abuse Forensic Center in Orange County, Ca., use the same techniques as those popularized on the C.S.I. television series to diagnose elder abuse and neglect, says the New York Times. The methods long have been the state-of-the-art approach for investigating child abuse and domestic violence. Elder abuse has lagged far behind, suffering from a lack of financing, research, and data.

Among new initiatives: geriatricians at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston review county autopsy reports looking for suspicious themes. Tellers at Wachovia bank branches nationwide are learning to detect irregular transactions in the accounts of elderly customers. Congress is expected to consider, before the October recess, the Elder Justice Act of 2006, which would create the first nationwide database on elder abuse, replacing inconsistent or unavailable data. The legislation would assign a federal official to coordinate projects and technical assistance and helps replicate programs like Orange County's.


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