About Us

Who created this website?

Faculty and staff from the UNC School of Government (SOG) collaborated to develop the resources and tools available on this website that are a part of the SOG's Elder Protection Project. The project is funded through a contract with the North Carolina Conference of Superior Court Clerks and the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts.

We are grateful for the insight provided during interviews and focus groups in Cumberland, Johnston, Pitt, Mecklenburg, Ashe, and Alamance counties. Thank you to the members of the Elder Abuse Advisory Committee for providing ongoing support regarding content, tools, and website development.

Why was the website created?

All across North Carolina, professionals in state, county, and local government are working to protect older adults from abuse, neglect, and exploitation and hold abusers accountable. This project began with a goal of making clerks more helpful to their communities and quickly evolved. The evolution was driven by site visits on the topic of elder protection with interested stakeholders across the state, including law enforcement officials; clerks of court; judges; social services directors, staff, and attorneys; private attorneys; and prosecutors. In the course of these conversations, it became clear that all involved wanted to:

  1. UNDERSTAND how the different parts of the elder protection system work. They understood their own work but found it difficult to coordinate with others involved because they did not quite understand the role and limitations of other actors in the system.
  2. CONNECT with others involved in elder protection to share ideas and build knowledge. They not only wanted to make connections within their local communities but also with peers across the state.

The call to improve understanding and connectivity drove the project's evolution. This website is designed with those two needs in mind: To provide information about the various components of the elder protection system and facilitate connections across the system.

Who is an older adult?

In North Carolina, some laws recognize adults over 60 as "older" while others focus on adults over 65. Some laws, such as those covering adult protective services (APS) and guardianship, apply more generally to all adults but are triggered only if the adult is disabled (APS) or incompetent (guardianship).

What is elder abuse?

Elder abuse is not defined in North Carolina law. This website relies primarily on the definition published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That definition generally encompasses an intentional act, or a failure to act, by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult.

Why is the website not more broadly focused on disabled adults and incompetent adults?

Many of the resources developed for this website should be useful for officials involved with protecting disabled adults and incompetent adults. Because the project funding is focused on older adults, that is where the work began. Over time, we hope to expand the resources and tools to address concerns facing other adult populations as well.

Want to purchase or download the manual?

The manual may be downloaded free of charge or a print version is available through UNC Press. The free download would not have been possible without funding support from the North Carolina Conference of Clerks of Superior Court, the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, and the NC Governor's Crime Commission through PROJ012303: NCCCSC AOC Elder Abuse & Financial Exploitation 2017.

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