Field Test of the CDC Uniform Definitions for Elder Abuse and Neglect Surveillance Using Police Encounter Data (APHA 2017)


The lack of a “gold standard” definition and measurement for elder abuse and neglect makes estimating incidence and prevalence difficult, especially as victims can present to numerous different agencies guided by their own definitional criteria. Furthermore, the lack of a uniform definition limits the ability to evaluate community-level preventative interventions. In response to this the CDC produced a set of uniform definitions and recommended core data elements intended to promote national level public health surveillance of elder abuse and neglect. Before the CDC uniform definitions are adopted testing is needed on their use in the various settings victims can present, such as the criminal justice system. This paper presents results of a field test of the CDC uniform definitions using hand coded data of over 500 police narrative reports resulting from encounters in which the alleged victim is age 65+. First the appropriateness of the scope of the definitions and core data elements will be discussed, including the missing and insufficiently described elements identified during our process of implementing the definitions and creating our coding manual. Then we will discuss potential consequences of implementing the definitions, presenting comparisons of how the ‘victim’ population changes as we modify the definitions and the meaning this may have for research, practice and the creation of disparities. Finally we will discuss the utility of the CDC uniform definitions in the State of Michigan criminal justice system, which has fundamental differences in their definition of elder abuse and neglect as compared to the CDC guidelines.


Presentations (Oral or Poster)
Pickering CEZ, Maxwell C