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Polyvictimization in Later Life

NCJ Number
Victimization of the Elderly and Disabled Volume: 17 Issue: 1 Dated: May/June 2014
Holly Ramsey-Klawsnik; Candace Heisler
Date Published
10 pages
This article describes the rationale for, design of, and efforts and findings thus far of a study of polyvictimization in later life.
The National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA) has been awarded a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) to conduct a 2-year (2013-2015) project on polyvictimization in later life. Prior to this study, the term "polyvictimization" had not been defined or conceptualized within the elder abuse field. An outcome of the current project will be the development of a definition of polyvictimization in later life, based on evidence from research and practice, as well as the academics and practitioners involved in this project. Another key project goal is to determine how a polyvictimization perspective may improve the understanding of a response to older adults who are experiencing multiple victimizations and resultant trauma.. A core team of elder abuse content experts from diverse fields is conducting the project. Based upon project findings to date, the following working definition of "polyvictimization in later life" has been developed: "Polyvictimization in later life" occurs when a person aged 60 or older is harmed through multiple co-occurring or sequential types of elder abuse by one or more perpetrators, or when an older adult experiences one type of abuse perpetrated by multiple others with whom the older adult has a personal, professional, or care-recipient relationship in which there is a societal expectation of trust. Perpetrators of polyvictimization in later life include individuals with special access to older adults, such as intimate partners, other family members, fiduciaries, paid or unpaid care or service providers, residents, or service recipients in care settings. Implications of findings thus far are discussed, and next steps are described. 14 references