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Elder Mistreatment: Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation in an Aging America
Conclusion or Recommendation
Elder mistreatment reporting statutes should be amended to exempt researchers from their mandatory requirements.
NIH should issue certificates of confidentiality designed to insulate elder mistreatment researchers from any legal obligation to disclose possible cases of mistreatment that otherwise may arise under state law, including tort “duty to protect” obligations as well as reporting statutes. Issuance of these certificates should be predicated on the assumption that IRBs will carefully scrutinize the protocols to ensure that participants are protected from harm and that, under appropriate circumstances, IRBs will permit investigators to take voluntary steps to protect subjects in danger.
An adequate long-term funding commitment to research on elder mistreatment must be made by relevant federal, state, and private agencies to support research careers and to develop the next generation of investigators in the field.