National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging

Evaluation of the Elder Abuse Training Program in Massachusetts, 1993-1995 (ICPSR 6921) RSS

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Summary:

These data were collected to evaluate the Elder Protection Project in Massachusetts, sponsored by the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office and funded by the Massachusetts Committee on Criminal Justice. The mission of the project was to train police officers to be aware of the changing demographics of the elderly population in Massachusetts and to communicate effectively and sensitively with senior adults so that officers could effectively intervene, report, and investigate instances of elder victimization, neglect, and financial exploitation. These data examine the quality of instruction given at the advanced training sessions conducted between September 1993 and May 1994 and offered in all regions of the state in coordination with local protective service agencies. Variables include the respondent's agency and job title, type of elder abuse programs offered by the agency, the respondent's estimate of the percentage of actual elder abuse reported in his/her area, and the respondent's opinion on the greatest obstacles to having elder abuse reported. Respondents rated their knowledge of elder abuse reporting laws, procedures for responding to elder abuse incidents, unique aspects of communicating with elderly people, and formal training on recognizing signs of elder abuse. Respondents that completed the two-day advanced law enforcement elder abuse training program rated the quality of the training and were also asked about issues related to elder abuse not covered in the training, names of new programs in the department or agency initiated as a result of the training, aspects of the training most useful and least useful, and suggestions regarding how the training program could be improved.

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Study Description

Citation

Holmes, William, Rhiana Kohl, and Diana Brensilber. EVALUATION OF THE ELDER ABUSE TRAINING PROGRAM IN MASSACHUSETTS, 1993-1995. Conducted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Office of Public Safety Programs Division, Statistical Analysis Center. ICPSR06921-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, [producer and distributor], 1997. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06921.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (94-IJ-CX-K001)
  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (94-IJ-CX-K001)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   elder abuse, older adults, police intervention, police training, population characteristics, program evaluation, victimization

Geographic Coverage:   Massachusetts, United States

Time Period:  

  • 1993-09--1995-02

Date of Collection:  

  • 1994-12--1995-02

Unit of Observation:   Individuals.

Universe:   Individuals invited to participate in the advanced training sessions of the Massachusetts Elderly Protection Project in September 1993 to May 1994.

Data Types:   survey data

Methodology

Study Purpose:   The issue of elder abuse has been salient for both law enforcement professionals and the general public. Elderly citizens can be violated by caregivers or family members, as well as by strangers. Abuse can also occur as the result of older adults' limited ability to care for themselves. Given the potentially confusing nature of the problem and the overlap with domestic assault, law enforcement personnel have been particularly unclear as to the laws concerning elder abuse and the role that police can and should play. In 1983, a mandatory reporting law (M.G.L. Chapter 19A, Sec. 14-26) regarding elder abuse went into effect in Massachusetts. This law required certain professionals, including police officers, to report all cases of suspected elder abuse (which may be one or a combination of financial, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, as well as neglect) to a local protective service agency. The Elder Protection Project was sponsored by the Attorney General's Office and funded by the Massachusetts Committee on Criminal Justice. The mission of the project was to train police officers to be aware of the changing demographics of the elderly population in Massachusetts and to communicate effectively and sensitively with senior adults so that officers could effectively intervene, report, and investigate instances of elder victimization, neglect, and financial exploitation. This data collection contains the program evaluation of the quality of the instruction given at the advanced trainings by the Elderly Protection Project.

Study Design:   The Elder Protection Project created a training curricula for recruit, in-service, and advanced training. Advanced training sessions were conducted between September 1993 and May 1994. This police training was offered in all regions of the state in coordination with local Protective Service Agencies. Several months following the training, a sample of individuals who were originally invited to take the advanced training were mailed surveys to assess the impact of the training project on those who participated in the two-day training sessions. The first mailing of the survey was in December 1994. A repeat mailing of the same survey was sent in January 1995 in an effort to increase the number of respondents. The deadline for the surveys to be returned was February 17, 1995, and respondents could send the completed survey by facsimile or by mail in the supplied self-addressed stamped envelope. The survey was designed to allow respondents to answer the first portion regardless of whether they participated in the police training, whereas the latter portion was designated for training participants only. Respondents were permitted to remain anonymous. As a result, guarantees could not be made that the recipient of each survey actually participated in the Elderly Protection Project's two-day training. The survey consisted of both closed- and open-ended questions and was designed to elicit information regarding familiarity with elder abuse laws, participation in and evaluation of the training experience, and encounters with elder abuse cases. The data were compiled solely by the staff conducting the evaluation.

Sample:   A sample of individuals who were invited to participate in the advanced training programs. Respondents were selected based on communities where elder abuse report data were initially accessible from protection service agencies. A majority of the sample (90 percent) were representatives of the law enforcement community, which was true for the training classes in general. Other participants included protective service workers, victim/witness advocates, and District Attorneys.

Data Source:

self-enumerated questionnaires

Description of Variables:   Variables include the respondent's agency and job title, type of elder abuse programs offered by the agency, the respondent's estimate of the percentage of actual elder abuse reported in his/her area, and the respondent's opinion on the greatest obstacles to having elder abuse reported. Respondents rated their knowledge of elder abuse reporting laws, procedures for responding to elder abuse incidents, unique aspects of communicating with elderly people, and formal training on recognizing signs of elder abuse. Respondents who completed the two-day advanced law enforcement elder abuse training program rated the quality of the training and were also asked about issues related to elder abuse not covered in the training, names of new programs in the department or agency initiated as a result of the training, aspects of the training most useful and least useful, and suggestions regarding how the training program could be improved.

Response Rates:   A total of 134 of the 231 surveys were completed and returned, which equals a 58 percent rate of response.

Presence of Common Scales:   Several Likert-type scales were used.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

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