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National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
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The Role of Professionals
and Concerned Citizens


Professionals and concerned citizens play a critical role in stopping elder abuse and neglect. Learn more about the roles that members of the following groups play and the resources available to them.

Adult protective service workers are the "front line" workers in elder abuse prevention. APS programs are designated as the primary agencies in most states to receive and investigate reports.

Professionals in the field of aging are often the first to discover abuse. For that reason, they provide a critical link between victims and protective service. They can provide encouragement and support to victims as they seek help and they can play an important role in educating other professionals about the special needs of the elderly.

Health and medical professionals play a key role in the identification and treatment of abuse. The trust and respect that patients often have for their health care providers places these professionals in a key position to help.

Law enforcement personnel ensure victims' safety and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.

Researchers provide insight into the etiology, incidence, and risk factors associated with abuse - information that is critical in designing effective interventions and services.

The media plays a fundamental role in educating the public and shaping its perceptions about abuse. It can enlist the public's help in identifying abuse, educate policy makers about the need for improved services and public policy, direct victims to needed services, and warn abusers about the consequences of their actions.

Concerned citizens can play a vital role in preventing abuse by reporting cases, helping to raise awareness about the problem, volunteering at agencies, and advocating for needed services and policy.

Last Updated March 2003

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