If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, neglect, or exploitation, the Virginia Center on Aging wants you to find the help you need.


To report suspected financial exploitation or other kinds of abuse to the elderly or adults with a disability, call your local department of social services or the Virginia Department of Social Services' 24-hour, toll-free Adult Protective Services Hotline at (888) 832-3858. To learn more about the APS response and services available, click this link.

Support for yourself or a loved one

For crisis intervention, support, information and local program referrals for victims of family violence or sexual assault, their friends, families, professionals and the general public, contact The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance's toll-free, confidential 24-hour statewide Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 838-8238 or visit their website at www.vsdvalliance.org

Abuse in Later Life

Our Abuse in Later Life Program tackles the issue of abuse of adults 50 and older by bringing together professionals from such diverse fields as law enforcement, victim advocacy, social services, the faith community, criminal justice, housing, healthcare, aging services, and more.  By working collaboratively, we can put the pieces together to see and address the whole story--the whole person--the whole system and to improve the lives of victims of abuse in later life.  Since 2007, we have trained more than 3,000 professionals throughout Virginia and across the nation in recognizing and responding to such abuse.

Our grant-funded initiatives include:

Approximately 10% of adults over the age of 60 will become victims of abuse (Acierno et al., 2010). Moreover, for every reported case of abuse in later life there remains anywhere from 23 to 25 cases that go unreported (APA, 2012; Lifespan of Greater Rochester, Inc., Weill Cornell Medical Center of Cornell University & New York City Department for the Aging, 2011). Abuse in later life, which can take many forms, is a primary research area of interest at VCOA as it furthers our overall mission of putting the pieces together to address the whole story, the whole person, the whole system.  These research findings will inform our work in developing evidence- and needs-based training curricula for those who serve older adults in the Commonwealth.

Currently, VCoA is working on a project entitled “Assessing Recognition of and Response to Cases of Abuse in Later Life,” which received funding in 2020.

The Central Virginia Task Force on Domestic Violence in Later Life is a multi-disciplinary local partnership of organizations working since 1998 to raise awareness and ‚ÄĆimprove the community response to women aged 50 and older who experience domestic, sexual, or family violence.  We accomplish our work through quarterly, multi-disciplinary meetings which always include a professional development component; an annual cross-disciplinary training; workshops and trainings; and by providing technical assistance to agencies in developing best practices to address abuse in later life.

In September 2014, the Task Force's Domestic Violence in Later Life project was among six Violence Against Women Act funded programs from Virginia recognized in the White House report, 1 is 2 Many: Twenty Years Fighting Violence Against Women and Girls. View the report.

NEW: Executive Law Enforcement Digital Toolkit

The goal of this statewide project is to enhance the law enforcement response to violence against older women in a comprehensive manner by providing trainings at the executive, supervisor, and detective/officer levels. Underlying all trainings is consideration of the significant and growing impact of abuse in later life on our communities, the dynamics of abuse, the unique and specific needs of older women who are victims of violence, unconscious ageist biases which can affect response, and the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration.

Two statewide presentations reaching an estimated total of 200-250 law enforcement executives will recognize the leadership role of the executive in t community, and focus on how the agency coordinates its efforts with key community stakeholders. The additional statewide supervisor training reaching an estimated total of 50 first-line supervisors will address tasks and topics that include the review of incident reports to determine if the response was appropriate, and the decision on following up in each case with services and/or more detailed investigation. 

Four regional, one-day trainings for detectives and officers, estimated to reach a total of 160, will focus on recognition, initial response, and investigation of crimes that include domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and neglect. The nationally developed and tested curriculum for detectives/officers emphasizes a trauma-informed response, and addresses cultural competency, recognizing and avoiding activities that compromise victim safety, community resources to assist victims and provide services, and steps toward developing a coordinated community response. A multidisciplinary training team consisting of law enforcement, adult protective services, prosecutor, and victim advocate deliver this daylong training.

This project is supported by the Department of Criminal Justice Services award no. 17-A6058VA16 from funds made available through the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Victim Fund. The opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of DCJS.

Elder Abuse and Domestic Violence in Later Life:  Innovative New Resources for Community

Lisa Furr, formerly of VCoA, and Adrienne Johnson of Senior Navigator presented on the topic, and Dr. E. Ayn Welleford of the Virginia Commission on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders/Virginia Commonwealth University moderated this discussion on August 27, 2013.  (When you click on the webinar name above, please scroll down to the bottom of the page for the recording and PowerPoint.) 

Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation

Dr. Paula Kupstas and Lisa Furr of VCoA presented on the topic, and Dr. E. Ayn Welleford of the Virginia Commission on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders/Virginia Commonwealth University, moderated this discussion on May 11, 2011.  (When you click on the webinar name above, please scroll down to the bottom of the page for the recording and PowerPoint.)

The Virginia Elder Justice Training and Services Project ran from October 1, 2012 - September 30, 2016.  This time limited project addressed issues of abuse in later life in Washington County and the City of Bristol.  Eighteen local and statewide agencies joined in partnership to focus on enhancing the safety of victims aged 50 and older and holding offenders accountable.  

This project provides: 

  • day-long trainings for criminal justice professionals, victim advocates, and governmental agency staff, with a nationally developed curriculum
  • a community needs assessment
  • a formal structure to strengthen collaboration across and within the organizations that serve older victims in the community
  • additional opportunities for prosecutors and judges to participate in national trainings on abuse in later life
  • the creation of new services in the community for victims of abuse in later life

We are pleased to report that District Three Governmental Cooperative, the Area Agency on Aging serving Washington County and Bristol, Virginia, was able to identify and receive funding to continue the services created as a part of this project and that their local Coordinated Community Response Team continues to meet following the completion of this grant project.

Learn more about this project.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2012-EW-AX-K004 awarded by the Office of Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women.

The Central Virginia Training Alliance to Stop Elder Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation was activated in 2006 and built upon the collaborative work of the Central Virginia Task Force on Domestic Violence in Later Life.  In 2006, the Training Alliance was one of ten grantees nationwide to be awarded a three-year pilot grant to train criminal justice professionals.  In October 2008, the Training Alliance was awarded two years of continuation funding for additional activities.  With the project completed, collaborators can continue to engage in this work through the Central Virginia Task Force on Domestic Violence in Later Life.