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Battered Elder Syndrome - An Exploratory Study

NCJ Number
M R Block, J D Sinnott
Date Published
142 pages
A survey of the abused elderly shows that their abusers are similar to child and spouse abusers and the problems is widespread; related articles on family violence are included.
The attitudes of the older person and his family as well as societal prejudices form the causes of abuse of elderly persons and need to be taken into account in research and treatment programs for victims and perpetrators alike. A study of abuse of the elderly was conducted through a survey of police records, social service agencies, and the elderly themselves. Victims were at least 60 years old and had sustained physical or psychological injury. Incidence of elder abuse was found to be as frequent as child or spouse abuse. Victims tended to be sick and to reside in middle-class homes. Elder abuse resembles spouse or child abuse in that the abusers are usually family members under stress (often economic), the abuse recurs, and the victims do not seek outside protection. About 33-47 percent of the abuse was moderate, and 19-42 percent, severe. Abuse was classified as physical, psychological, or economic. An article on elder abuse and public policy reveals that no comprehensive policy exists to help the abused elderly and suggests legal, social, and preventive intervention strategies. Other articles discuss environmental factors associated with violence, such as economic hardship and alcoholism; forms of family violence; child abuse and characteristics of child abusers; and spouse abuse. A bibliography (about 275 references) is provided, and an abuse report form is appended.


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