SOCIAL WORKERS' ATTITUDES AND PERCEPTIONS ABOUT REPORTING SUSPECTED ELDER ABUSE
Elder abuse affects a large number of older adults, but it is believed that the vast majority of incidences are never formally reported. Some of this discrepancy may arise because victims are physically or cognitively unable to recognize the abuse or halt its occurrence. In these circumstances, medical, legal, and social services professionals play a key role in detecting abuse and seeking intervention from Adult Protective Services (APS). This symposium highlights factors considered by
... onals and researchers when determining whether abuse has occurred and whether APS should be notified. Four presentations by emerging scholars will provide insight into these processes from the perspectives of prosecutors, physicians, APS workers, social workers, and researchers. Presentations on clinical and professional practice will examine 1) the risk of abuse associated with dementia and ways that physicians can detect abuse among patients with dementia; 2) the importance of using both case narratives and physical evidence to make confident determinations about abuse; and 3) the attitudes and perceptions of nonmandated reporters toward APS reporting and ways in which personal beliefs influence reporting decisions. These will be followed by a presentation on research into abuse prevalence, and how various methodological approaches may impact how frequently elder abuse is detected in prevalence studies. Practice implications arising from study findings hold promise for improving and increasing abuse detection, timely referral of cases to APS, cross-disciplinary interaction and collaboration, and methodological approaches to research on abuse and neglect.