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The RISE Model
A new more just and person-centered approach to elder abuse


The RISE Model is a new approach to elder abuse designed to reduce harm, respect autonomy,

and advance justice in a more holistic and flexible way than is possible given the structure of most existing systems. 

“RISE” integrates methods used in other fields and adapts them to the unique challenges and circumstances of elder abuse. The goals of using those methods (including restorative justice, motivational interviewing, teaming and supported decision-making) include to:


    Repair harm—Restorative justice (Reduce harm & work toward transformational change)

    Inspire change—Motivational interviewing (Help people feel that change is possible)

    Support connection—Teaming (Strengthen informal and formal social supports)

    Empower choice—Supported decision-making (Aid people with cognitive impairments to achieve their goals)

Factors distinguishing the RISE model from most other elder abuse interventions include that:

  • It is grounded in theory and methods in which the RISE advocates are trained

  • Advocates work not only with victims, but also (if the victim wishes) with alleged abusers, with others in their lives, and on the relationships among them

  • Advocates can stay involved in cases longer than most formal systems responders are usually able to, allowing advocates more time to build trusting relationships with and social support around victims and families

  • Advocates work in a truly client-centered way

  • Advocates are based in a community non-profit, but work alongside formal systems; and

  • Advocates’ work is part of an ongoing research project, so they and their colleagues are committed to ongoing data collection and evaluating the efficacy of their work.

RISE Model, Phase I – The Maine CAPSTONES Project 


In 2018, the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living (ACL) awarded Maine’s Adult Protective Services program (APS) $1.28 million to fund the Community & Adult Protective Services Trial of Novel Enhanced Services—or the “CAPSTONES study”—to compare outcomes of APS clients who work with RISE advocates (in two randomly selected Maine counties, Cumberland and Aroostook) versus clients who have not. The RISE advocates, who are employed by the Elder Abuse Institute of Maine and work under the umbrella of the Elder Service Connections Program, began working with clients referred to them by APS in July 2019.  In the first two years of the project, Advocates handled more than 200 cases.  

Phase I CAPSTONES data collection ended in June 2021. Based on its early positive results, (as the data is still being analyzed), Maine APS used some of its COVID-19 relief funding to expand APS’s access to RISE from 2 counties to the entire state (16 counties), beginning in July 2021.





Erin Salvo, JD 

Director, Maine APS program


RISE Advocacy Program 

Patricia Kimball, MS, MS

Executive Director

Elder Abuse Institute of Maine 

Research, Design and Policy Team

David Burnes, PhD 

Associate Professor

Associate Dean, Academic

University of Toronto, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work

Affiliate Scientist, Baycrest, Rotman Research Institute

Marie-Therese Connolly, JD

Elder Justice Lab, founder

USC Davis School of Gerontology, adjunct faculty

MacArthur Foundation Fellow

Stuart Lewis, MD FACP
Associate Professor of Medicine

Division of Geriatrics and Primary Care

Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

Geoff Rogers


The Learning & Development Projects at the

Silberman School of Social Work

Hunter College, New York



Phase II – Expanding the RISE Model to other systems: the “RISE Alternative” 

We currently are working with partners in Maine and across the country to expand RISE to allow other systems (in addition to APS) to refer cases to trained RISE advocates. Our goals for the “RISE Alternative” program include to avoid unnecessary criminal, enforcement and guardianship actions, to promote accountability and justice, to reduce the rippling harms of elder abuse, and to honor older persons’ wishes.

Phase II “RISE Alternative” Planning Funding

We are grateful to the Maine Health Access Foundation and the Maine Women’s Fund for planning grants to explore how best to expand access to the RISE program to other systems. 

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