Programs and Guidelines

ABA State Court Guidelines for Handling Elder Abuse Cases

In 1996, the American Bar Association adopted Recommended Guidelines for State Courts Handling Cases Involving Elder Abuse. The guidelines include 29 recommendations in three broad areas: (1) improving how courts handle elder abuse cases; (2) improving the identification of elder abuse cases and bringing them into the court system, and (3) increasing court and community coordination.

The guidelines reflect the need for judges and court staff to understand the dynamics of elder abuse; for effective court management of elder abuse cases, which includes accommodations for the special needs of older victims and witnesses; and for court engagement with community partners to create more comprehensive and effective approaches to preventing and addressing elder abuse. The principles underlying the guidelines have influenced the development of best practices for courts, prosecutors and community based service providers. The following recommendations provide examples of these principles.