‘Terrific Black Holes’: Experiences with Social Services in Elder Family Financial Exploitation

Tina Kilaberia, Emma R. Fuhrman, Marlene S Stum

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


The role of social services in responding to elder family financial exploitation (EFFE) is increasingly recognised. This qualitative thematic study draws on the perspectives of fifteen non-victim, non-perpetrator family members who described seeking help from social service entities for older adults who were financially exploited in their families. Four themes illustrated entry point failures, gaps in social services and multidisciplinary collaborations, family-related barriers to help-seeking and positive appraisals of social services professionals. Social response to EFFE is inherently multidisciplinary and extends across a range of private and public service sectors. We discuss boundary work to empower social work’s professional authority in formal service systems as well as its boundary work with the healthcare system, specifically the importance of training in evaluations of older victims’ cognitive status. Implications pertain to areas such as tailored independent social work practice, community practice, social isolation of older victims and attitudinal response.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages19
Specialist publicationBritish Journal of Social Work
StatePublished - Mar 24 2023


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