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What is the Elder Justice Coordinating Council?


Passed in 2010, the Elder Justice Act establishes the Elder Justice Coordinating Council to coordinate activities related to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation across the federal government. The Elder Justice Coordinating Council is directed by the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary serves as the Chair of the Council. The HHS Secretary has assigned responsibility for implementing the EJCC to the Administration for Community Living (ACL).

Who are the EJCC Members?


In addition to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Elder Justice Act also names the Attorney General (AG) of the U.S. as a permanent member of the Council. The statute further provides for inclusion as Council members the heads of each federal department, agency, or governmental entity identified as administering programs related to abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation. As of 2022 there are 17 members.

What does the EJCC do?


The EJCC has engaged in a number of activities to carry out its mission of improving coordination among federal agencies working on elder justice issues, and released four products. Through the relationships forged by the EJCC, the member agencies have made significant progress through a number of accomplishments to address elder maltreatment, among them:


Black and white photo of a smiling elderly man
What is Elder Justice?

No matter how old we are, justice requires that all people are equal and full members of our communities, and the safety and dignity of all its members are preserved, including older adults. Unfortunately, we do not always live up to this ideal. Just like a stable building requires a strong set of support beams, we need a solid social structure so that older people can live their lives to the fullest, participate in our communities, and live free from abuse and neglect.


Strong, stable communities with structures to support people of all ages and abilities not only ensure justice and dignity for older people and adults with disabilities, but also secure the wellbeing and quality of life for us all.

The EJCC member agencies are cornerstones in these structures. EJCC members work to prevent abuse, neglect, and exploitation from happening through evidence-based primary prevention activities, such as public awareness and health literacy initiatives. They support early intervention services to identify, remove, or reduce risk factors for abuse, neglect, or exploitation. EJCC members support a coordinated, national Adult Protective Services system to intervene when maltreatment is happening. And they further coordinate efforts across various professional sectors, including social services, health and behavioral health services, and the legal and justice system to better serve victims of maltreatment and to hold perpetrators accountable.


Working together across these activities, the EJCC member agencies foster a coordinated, multi-disciplinary approach that bolsters all our elder justice efforts. Each of the EJCC member agencies has a role in one or more of the sectors of prevention and response.

Black and white photo of an elderly couple sitting on a bench and wheelchair looking out at the beach
What is Maltreatment?

Elder maltreatment is a widespread social, public health, and economic issue. It is estimated that approximately 10 percent of older adults experience elder abuse, including physical abuse, psychological or verbal abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, and neglect. Like other forms of interpersonal violence, elder abuse usually occurs behind closed doors, and remains “invisible.” In addition, data from state Adult Protective Services (APS) agencies show an increasing trend in reports of elder abuse, despite estimates that as few as 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse, and 1 in 44 cases of financial exploitation, come to the attention of authorities.


Research has demonstrated that elder maltreatment has significant consequences for the health, well-being, and independence of our seniors. The problem is exacerbated by a lack of standardized practice, public awareness, and public policy guidelines at the national level.


Elder maltreatment can take many forms. Some older adults will experience multiple forms of maltreatment simultaneously, referred to as poly-victimization. Here we provide definitions of common types of maltreatment. The definition of scams and frauds comes from the Department of Justice. The other definitions are taken from the Elder Justice Act.

Last Modified: 05/10/2024