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Elder Abuse Victimization: What We Know From Research- and Practice-Based Evidence

NCJ Number
Date Published
51 pages

This report by the Center for Victim Research summarizes evidence from research and practice regarding what works to prevent elder abuse and to intervene when it occurs to mitigate harms and prevent further abuse.


This report discusses the following eight findings of the research: 1) Each year, about 1 in 10 older adults in the United States experiences some type of abuse, with the most commonly reported forms being psychological, financial, and neglect; 2) The response to such victimization requires consistent definitions and valid measures of elder abuse to estimate prevalence; 3) Risk factors for one or more forms of elder abuse pertain to gender, race, mental and physical health, and marital status; 4) Older adults with cognitive impairments are particularly vulnerable to abuse, requiring effective protections; 5) Social support is one of the few well-documented protective factors, with social isolation being a risk factor; 6) Long-term adverse consequences of elder abuse include increased risk of revictimization, extended hospitalization, and institutionalization; 7) Promising interventions for elder abuse are multidisciplinary teams, victim support groups, and counseling, but more research is needed to identify effective interventions; and 8) Many mainstream community services are not prepared to address the distinctive needs of marginalized older adults. Research suggestions are offered for documenting the nature, prevalence, prevention, and effective victim services for elder abuse. 264 references

Date Published: January 1, 2020