Mandated reports are critical to identifying and resolving cases of elder mistreatment. Yet there is little information about what policymakers and decision-makers should be doing to address a significant barrier to reporting, which is the lack of feedback that reporters receive about their reports and the essential role they can play in addressing elder abuse. With limited evidence on best practices, state leaders and local agencies have an urgent need for guidance on how to improve their approaches to providing this important feedback.

In the Pathways to Safety project, EDC worked to fill gaps in current knowledge and to facilitate improved communication between Adult Protective Services (APS) and elder abuse reporters. Our team examined legal, ethical, and practical barriers and facilitators to communication at key points along the reporting and response pathways.

Key Activities

The project carried out the following activities:

  • Conduct an environmental scan of policies and practices related to APS and reporter communication across the United States
  • Conduct an in-depth case study in Massachusetts to assess perceptions of 2017 policy changes related to improving feedback to reporters
  • Convene an expert advisory board to inform methods, interpret results, and develop recommendations for improving communication between reporters and APS
  • Publish recommendations and strategies that policymakers and key stakeholders at the state and local levels can use to improve communication between APS and reporters


This study will:

  • Provide insight into the specific barriers and facilitators to developing effective feedback loops between APS and reporters of elder mistreatment
  • Provide pragmatic recommendations that state and local agencies can apply to improve communication with reporters and to encourage continued and more effective reporting

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National Institute of Justice

ADvancing States