U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

COVID-19 Survivor Impact Brief: Older Adult Survivors

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2020
6 pages
One in a series of briefs on listening sessions in which victim service providers discussed the impact on underserved crime victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, this brief focuses on older adult crime survivors.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, older adults face the prospect of becoming infected with COVID-19, accompanied by isolation from family and high risk of death. The circumstances required to prevent infection also create a heightened risk for violence and abuse stemming from abusive interactions with family members and caretakers. This may stem from the limited opportunities for socialization and recreational activities outside the home or in the care-taking facility. Victim service providers, however, report a decrease in calls for domestic violence and sexual assault services, as well adult protective services; however, service providers do not view this circumstance as being due to a decrease in victimizations, but rather as reduced opportunities to report or witness victimizations. Older adults also face an increased risk of abuse in long-term care facilities, as family members are restricted from visits and the monitoring of a resident's care. This brief also discusses how systemic racism and ageism uniquely impact older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. The brief's discussion of promising strategies addresses ways of connecting with older adults in their homes and care facilities while respecting social distancing. Suggestions include using the phone, texting, and video chat. Other topics discussed are rethinking the role of an advocate, leaning on and creating new relationships, calling on faith leaders to connect with survivors, providing information on COVID-19 scams, and giving instruction in self-care.