September 28, 2006
Forensic Techniques Used on Behalf of Abused Elderly
"The elderly man in the emergency room was covered with bruises, some purple and others fading to yellow. Despite signs of dementia, he told the same story over and over: His wifes burly home health aide had beaten him. But the health aide and the wife insisted he had fallen. Now it was up to the members of Orange Countys Elder Abuse Forensic Center to decide which story was true.
As the man lay on a gurney, he was interviewed by a team from the center: a geriatrician, a social worker and an investigator from the sheriffs office. The bruises on the mans chest, they determined, were the result of being punched. There were bloody outlines of a shoe on the mans leg. His clear, consistent story, and cognitive tests, persuaded the prosecutor to charge the aide with a felony.
At the center here, public health and law enforcement officials are learning to speak the same language and using the same forensic techniques as those popularized on the three C.S.I. television series to diagnose elder abuse and neglect. For decades, the techniques have been the state-of-the-art approach for investigating child abuse and domestic violence. But elder abuse has lagged far behind, suffering from a lack of financing, research and data." By Jane Gross, N.Y. Times, Herald Tribune Link to Article (last visited 9-27-06 NVS)
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