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Elder Abuse Guide For Law Enforcement | Recognizing Abusers

Eagle Elder Financial Abuse Resource Guide.jpgThe Elder Abuse Guide for Law Enforcement (EAGLE) is now available online. "The guide is a national web module designed to support enforcement officers in identifying, intervening, and resolving cases of elder abuse...EAGLE funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and was led by the University of Southern California's (USC) Keck School of Medicine, host of the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)."

Given Hackard Law's efforts in applying elder financial abuse law to civil wrongdoers, this video will pay general attention to EAGLE's section on Financial Elder Abuse and specific attention to Recognizing Abusers.

EAGLE defines Financial Elder Abuse as "Using an older adult's money or assets (pension, home, social security checks) contrary to their wishes, needs or best interests, or for the abuser's personal gain."

EAGLE also explains that "Undue influence is when a person of trust manipulates and takes advantage of a vulnerable elder to gain control of money, property or life-either directly or through power of attorney, trust, marriage, adoption, or inheritance."

EAGLE's section on Recognizing Abusers is superb. The section is divided into four parts. The first part responds to the question "Who are Abusers?" The next three parts identify "possible abusers, general traits and additional traits." Each part is important and should be read together.


  • Most elder abuse is perpetrated by a family member, caregiver or anyone providing care-including professionals.
  • If an elder abuse victim lives in a long-term care facility, he or she is most likely to experience physical and emotional abuse by a nurse's assistant.
  • Abusers are typically people who hold a position of trust, with the opportunity to know the victim's physical or mental vulnerabilities.


  • Abusers may be: Spouse, Child, Other Family Member, Nurse, Nursing Assistant, Physician, Neighbor, Friend, Attorney, or Bank Employee


  • Many perpetrators of elder abuse:
  • Have no means of support aside from the alleged victims' housing, pension and social security checks
  • Have mental illness or disabilities themselves
  • May appear controlling; do not want victim interviewed alone


A 2008 National Institute of Justice-funded study found that:

  • Approximately 50% of perpetrators had been using drugs or alcohol when the abuse occurred
  • Nearly 1/3 of the perpetrators had a history of mental illness
  • Over 1/3 of the perpetrators were unemployed
  • Almost 1/2 of the perpetrators were socially isolated

This guide is excellent. While we are civil lawyers who prosecute civil elder financial abuse claims this guide is extraordinarily helpful. We respond to several calls or emails every month from family members who are concerned about possible elder financial abuse against their parents. Often times the evidence of abuse is not seen until after a parent dies.

EAGLE is very helpful in identifying the signs of financial abuse. Such signs include: victim's self report; unemployed adults reside in the home; new names of signature cards; unauthorized withdrawals; abrupt changes in will; disappearance of funds/possessions; unpaid bills/adequate funds; forged signature for transactions; appearance of uninvolved relative; sudden transfer of assets; unlicensed personal care home; large purchases for the abuser's benefit; and inappropriate financial reimbursement for services to the older adult.

Our particular focus on elder financial abuse often involves challenges to abusers whose wrongful actions against elders included changes in wills and trusts, unauthorized bank or real property transfers and abuses of powers of attorney. Hackard Law represents clients in most of California's major urban areas, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and Alameda.

If you would like to speak with us about your case call us at 916 313-3030. We represent clients in significant cases where we think that we can make a substantial difference and there is a wrongdoer that we can make financially accountable for their wrongdoing.

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