Physical Abuse  |  Emotional Abuse  |  Sexual Abuse  |  Financial Abuse  |  Institutional Abuse  |  Neglect  |  Scams  |  FAQ

If You Suspect Elder Abuse

To Report Suspected Elder Abuse

Call the Adult Protective Services
All reports are Confidential

Contact Us

If you are interested in learning more about the Elder Abuse Justice Unit, or the subject of Elder Abuse:

Scott Spallina
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
Elder Abuse Justice Unit
Phone: 808.768.6452

Helpful Resources

Adult Protective Services and Community Care Services
  • Tel: 808.832.5115
  • Adult Protective Services and information about other adult care services
  • Aging and Disability Resource Center's Elderly Affairs Division
  • Tel: 808.768.7705
  • Resources for Aging, Disability and Caregiving
  • Attorney's Victim/Witness Services
  • Tel: 808.541.2850
  • Information, support and resources for victims and witnesses of a federal crime
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Tel: 808.536.6956
  • Neighbor Islands Call Toll Free
  • Check out a local business or contractor
  • Domestic Violence Action Center
  • Tel: 808.531.3771
  • Information about domestic violence and support programs for victims
  • Elder Law Program
  • Tel: 808.956.6544
  • Free law clinic for low-income elders and their caregivers
  • Executive Office on Aging
  • Tel: 808.536.7281
  • A resource for older adults and their caregivers
  • Long Term Care Ombudsman
  • Tel: 808.586.0100
  • For nursing, care home and assisted living residents
  • Office of the Prosecuting Attorney
  • Tel: 808.768.7400
  • Main page for the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney
  • Senior Scam Tips
  • Tel: 808.536.8609
  • Information on current scams from the Better Business Bureau
  • The Sex Abuse Treatment Center
  • Tel: 808.535.7600
  • Support for victims of Sexual Assault
  • Top of Page

    Our parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles are the treasures of our society. They took care of us in their youth and it's up to us to protect and care for them in the senior years. Sadly, there are many in the world who seek to take advantage of our vulnerable elders.

    The Elder Abuse Justice Unit in the Prosecuting Attorney's Office was created to prosecute and bring to justice those seeking to harm the ones who raised us. It's my privilege to expand the Elder Abuse Justice Unit and put more resources toward prevention and education as well as enforcement.

    If you see a crime being committed against an elderly person, please report it. If you have questions or need information, please contact our office. Together we can work toward making the senior years of one's life as safe and free from care as they can possibly be. We owe that to our elders.

    Download Our Brochure

    Download a copy of our

    Elder Abuse Informational Brochure

    Top of Page

    The Elder Abuse Justice Unit

    The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney is committed to fighting elder abuse and improving the quality of life for all seniors. To this end, the Elder Abuse Justice Unit (EAJU) was created.

    The unit is comprised of senior deputy prosecuting attorneys who vertically prosecute elder abuse cases meaning one attorney handles the case from start to finish, and all attorneys are on call around the clock. This results not only in a complex understanding of the crime, but also good rapport and communication with the victims.

    The EAJU also works closely with victim advocates so victims are given the support they need. Ultimately, the EAJU is able to arrest criminals sooner, keep them in jail longer, and resolve cases in the system faster.

    The EAJU is dedicated to:

    • Insuring that crimes against persons over the age of 60 are properly and effectively reported, investigated and prosecuted,
    • Enhancing communication and cooperation between law enforcement, agencies providing services to persons over the age of 60, and the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, and
    • Increasing awareness of crimes against persons age 60 and over.

    Some of the services provided by the victim counselors include:

    • Crisis counseling
    • Orientation of the criminal justice system
    • Assistance with filing additional criminal case
    • Case status information
    • Court accompaniment
    • Social services referrals
    • Application for crime victim compensation

    Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro conferring with members of the Elder Abuse Justice Unit; from left, Dawnie Ichimura, Kimberly Korte, and Scott Spallina.

    The Problem of Elder Abuse

    Elder Abuse is defined as an action by a person, usually in a position of trust, which causes harm to an elderly person. This may include harmful actions committed by strangers, if a victim is targeted because of the victim's age.

    Every year, an estimated 2.1 million older Americans are injured, exploited, or otherwise mistreated by someone whom they depend on for care or protection. It can happen anywhere, and to anyone. But most of all, it can happen, and is happening here in Hawaii.

    Senior citizens are targeted for a number of reasons ranging from frustration or inadequate caregiver support, to simple greed or opportunity. Furthermore, elder abuse can be committed by anyone: a spouse, caregiver, adult children, a "new best friend," or a stranger. Likewise, there is no profile for victims. They may be physically or mentally impaired, too trusting, or simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Unfortunately elder abuse is a grossly underreported crime. It is estimated that for every case that is reported, another 25 cases remain unreported. Just as there are many reasons that elder abuse is committed, there are many reasons why it is not reported. Some of these reasons include:

    • The elder may fear retaliation by their abusers, especially if they are dependent on the abuser for medical or financial care, or companionship
    • They may fear deportation if they are not a citizen
    • They may be unable to report the abuse due to a language barrier, a mental or physical disability, or religious belief or customs
    • The elder may have a previous bad relationship with law enforcement or think the justice system is too confusing, or doesn't care about them
    • The elder may be ashamed or embarrassed of their vulnerability, and the fact that they were abused
    • Cultural norms have allowed this kind of behavior to seem "normal" or "acceptable"
    • The elder may think they are betraying their family by reporting the abuse if their abusers are family members

    If you know of someone being physically abused (or merely suspect that this crime is occurring) call the police or Adult Protective Service immediately! Everyone has the right to live free of abuse, and it is up to us to come together to fight these crimes.

    Members of the Elder Abuse Justice Unit are available to make presentations about this important subject. Only through community awareness and a better understanding of this crime will the seniors of Hawaii receive the protection and dignity they deserve.

    Elder Abuse Cases Double

    Top of Page

    Home  |   Physical Abuse  |   Emotional Abuse  |   Sexual Abuse  |   Financial Abuse  |   Institutional Abuse  |   Neglect  |   Scams  |   FAQ

    This Web site is funded in whole or in part through a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, and the U.S. Department of Justice. Neither the U.S. Department of Justice nor any of its components operate, control, are responsible for, or necessarily endorse, this Web site (including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies, and any services or tools provided).