Protecting our most vulnerable seniors

Elder Abuse Services

The only one of its kind in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center (LACEAFC) is comprised of a multidisciplinary team of professionals that provide expert case examination, documentation, consultation, and prosecution of elder and dependent adult abuse cases.

1,065,699 people age 65+
live in Los Angeles County
-U.S. Census, 2010-

Elder Abuse Forensic Center

The Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center opened in 2006 after the LA County Board of Supervisors called for the improvement of communication and coordination between county agencies responsible for investigating crimes against the elderly.

The Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center offers a number of services including:

  • Multi-agency team case review and action plans
  • Forensic evaluation and documentation
  • Medical and neuropsychological evaluations
  • Education and training
  • Consultation
  • Victim and social services


Only professional county and city agencies may refer a case for discussion at the Forensic Center. These professionals include: Law Enforcement, Adult Protective Services, Long-Term Care Ombudsman, District Attorney’s Office, City Attorney’s Office, GENESIS (Department of Mental Health), Victim Witness Program Advocates, the Coroner’s Office, and other related fields.

If you fall into these categories and would like to discuss your case, please contact Allyson Young, Special Project Manager, at

93% of elder abuse is never reported
-National Resource Council, 2003-

Adult Protection Team

The elderly can be some of our most vulnerable community members subjected to abuse and neglect, often at the hands of their own family members. In partnership with Adult Protective Services and other city and county agencies, VIP manages a hospital-based multidisciplinary team for elderly and dependent adults to respond to this type of abuse. Medical services are provided by the VIP Adult Protection Team including:

  • Forensic medical examinations for victims of elder abuse and dependent adult abuse
  • Screening for abuse and neglect of patients 65 years and older at LAC+USC Medical Center
  • Geriatric medical care for patients 65 years and older
  • Primary care for dementia patients
  • Referrals to sub-specialists, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, audiology, and ophthalmology
  • Authorized medical equipment
1 in 10 seniors report emotional, physical or sexual mistreatment or neglect
-Aceirno et al., 2010-

Community Partners

University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology

Gerontology is the study of aging in the context of the entire life span. The University of Southern California Leonard Davis School and its research and services component, the University of Southern California Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center, are improving the quality of life for older persons through research and education.

As the oldest and largest school of gerontology in the world, the Davis School has a long tradition of forging new pathways in the field of aging. A multidisciplinary institution from its inception in 1975, the Davis School was built on the bedrock of excellence in aging research. Research in molecular biology, neuroscience, demography, psychology, sociology and public policy is conducted under the auspices of the Andrus Gerontology Center, founded in 1964.


University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine

Located in Los Angeles, the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California trains tomorrow’s leaders in patient care and biomedical research and provides advanced health care to the people of Southern California. Increasingly, the Keck School is expanding its biomedical research enterprise and, in so doing, raising its profile as a premier medical school.


Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office

As the largest local prosecutorial agency in the nation, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has a jurisdiction covering 4,083 square miles. The territory stretches from Antelope Valley to Long Beach, from Pomona to Malibu. On average the District Attorney’s Office prosecutes nearly 60,000 felonies and 200,000 misdemeanors a year. The Juvenile Division, which has nine offices throughout the County, files approximately 30,000 criminal petitions a year against criminal offenders under 18 years of age.

District Attorney's Victim-Witness Assistance Program

The District Attorney’s Office is also committed to helping victims of crime and vigorously protecting their rights through the Victim-Witness Assistance Program–the largest victim services program in the nation among district attorney’s offices. Victim advocates guide victims through the court process, help victims receive restitution, provide crisis intervention, and provide referrals to counseling and community services.


Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office

The City Attorney is elected by the people of Los Angeles to serve as the chief legal advisor and prosecutor for the City of Los Angeles. The Office of the City Attorney is the second largest municipal law office in the nation, with over 500 attorneys practicing both criminal and civil law.


Los Angeles County Adult Protective Services

Los Angeles County Adult Protective Services (APS) is a State-mandated service program which investigates situations involving elders (age 65 or older) and dependent adults (physically or mentally impaired 18 – 64 year olds) who are reported to be endangered by physical, sexual or financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, neglect, or self-neglect. Any endangered elder or dependent adult is eligible for APS without regard to income.


Los Angeles Sheriff's Department

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department is the largest sheriff’s department in the world. In addition to specialized services, such as the Sheriff’s Youth Foundation, International Liaison and Employee Support Services, the Department is divided into ten divisions, each headed by a Division Chief.

There are three patrol divisions (Field Operations Regions I, II and III), Custody Operations Division, Correctional Services Division, Detective Division, Court Services Division, Technical Services Division, Office of Homeland Security, Administrative Services Division, and Leadership and Training Division.


Los Angeles Police Department

It is the mission of the Los Angeles Police Department to safeguard the lives and property of the people we serve, to reduce the incidence and fear of crime, and to enhance public safety while working with the diverse communities to improve their quality of life. Our mandate is to do so with honor and integrity, while at all times conducting ourselves with the highest ethical standards to maintain public confidence.


Department of Mental Health--Office of the Public Guardian

The Public Guardian has been named by the Court as conservator for more than 2,500 persons who are physically or mentally disabled. These individuals cannot care for themselves without help. When such a person is brought to the attention of the Public Guardian, an investigation is made to determine whether friends or family are able and willing to act in the disabled person’s best interests. If not, the Public Guardian petitions the Court to be named conservator, and the disabled person becomes the conservatee.

Department of Mental Health--GENESIS

The mission of GENESIS program is to provide mobile mental health and health services to frail homebound adults 60 years and older that support their dignity, maximize options and enhance their independence. Services provided include: Outreach to senior housing, senior and community centers and other agencies; Information and Referral; Telephone consultation to professionals on health and mental health issues; Health screening including blood pressure screening, nutrition evaluation, identification and triage of specific health conditions that require follow-up referrals; Mental-Health Counseling to individuals and groups; Comprehensive Health/Mental Health assessment.


Long-Term Care Ombudsman

The WISE Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is an advocacy group designed to help protect and ensure the quality of care of seniors living in skilled nursing and residential care facilities for the elderly. Ombudsmen educate residents and their families about their rights in these facilities, help resolve complaints and address issues. The Ombudsmen can help to resolve issues and complaints that residents and their families have about a variety of topics —including matters of dignity and their rights; health care; dietary concerns; physical therapy; medications; activities; discharge matters and other quality of care and life concerns. The WISE Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is responsible for advocating for residents in the more than 40,000 beds in long-term care facilities in the City and County of Los Angeles. The Ombudsmen make frequent visits to nursing homes and other facilities to ensure the well-being of the residents.


Los Angeles County Department of the Coroner

The Los Angeles County Department of the Coroner inquires into and determines the cause, manner and circumstances of death in all unnatural, suspicious, unusual, violent, sudden and unattended deaths. The cause of death is determined by investigation, post mortem examination and laboratory testing. The department is also responsible for correctly identifying the deceased and for making proper disposition of remains.


Bet Tzedek Legal Services

Bet Tzedek—Hebrew for the “house of justice”—opened its doors over 30 years ago as a one-night-a-week storefront community law office staffed by volunteers. Today, Bet Tzedek is one of the nation’s premier legal services organizations, providing free assistance to more than 10,000 people of every racial and religious background at its headquarters in the Fairfax area and its office in North Hollywood and at more than 30 senior centers throughout Los Angeles County. With a dedicated staff of over 55 and more than 400 active volunteers, Bet Tzedek makes a crucial difference in the lives of the most vulnerable members of the community.


Forensic Neuropsychologist

Susan I. Bernatz, PhD is a clinical and forensic neuropsychologist who is in private practice and serves as a consultant to the forensic center. She is a leading expert in the area of undue influence and financial capacity in financial elder abuse cases. Dr. Bernatz conducts forensic neuropsychological evaluations and works together with the multidisciplinary team to protect vulnerable elders and dependent adults. Her expertise is a critical component of weekly case review and planning at the forensic center.

Frequently Asked Questions

May I refer a case to the Forensic Center?

Only  professional county and city agencies may refer a case for discussion at the Forensic Center. These professionals include: Adult Protective Services, Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Law Enforcement, District Attorney’s Office, City Attorney’s Office, GENESIS (Department of Mental Health), Victim Witness Program Advocates, the Coroner’s Office, and other related fields. If you fall into these categories and would like to discuss your case, please contact the Special Project Manager at

Even though I can't refer a case to the Forensic Center, I'd still like to report suspected elder or dependent abuse. Who should I report to?

In case of an emergency, please call 9-1-1. Adult Protective Services is the agency tasked with investigating elder abuse cases in the community. They have a 24-hour hotline for reporting abuse: 877-477-3646. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman (WISE & Healthy Aging) investigates abuse in facility environments. Reports for the Ombudsman can be made to 800-334-9473 or after hours at 800-231-4024. You may also contact your local law enforcement agency.

What constitutes elder abuse?

Elder and dependent adult abuse may include neglect, self-neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional or verbal abuse, and financial abuse. Victims of elder abuse include adults who are at least 65 years of age and dependent adult abuse includes those between the ages of 18-64 and who are physically, developmentally, or emotionally disabled.

What is the purpose of the Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center?

The purpose of the Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center is to improve the quality of life for vulnerable elders and dependent adults who have been victims of abuse and neglect. This will be accomplished through the successful attainment of the following three goals:

  1. To improve communication and coordination between the agencies responsible for investigating crimes against the elderly and disabled in Los Angeles County
  2. To increase opportunities to achieve justice as well as improve health and welfare for elderly and disabled victims of abuse and neglect
  3. To improve awareness and knowledge about the crime of elder and dependent adult abuse and neglect including such areas as prevention, identification, and treatment