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December 4, 2011

Elder Abuse and Mistreatment (USA)

Vulnerable older adults face high risks of financial, physical, and psychological abuse. Too often, these abuses go undetected or are disregarded after they are discovered. Frequently family members or caregivers are the perpetators; thus the abuse can mistakenly be seen as a private, family matter.
Elder abuse includes intentional actions by a caregiver or other trusted individual that causes harm to an older adult. Elder abuse can also include the failure of a caregiver or other responsible party to provide for the basic needs of an elder. The comprehensive definition of elder abuse includes financial exploitation of older people, as well as physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse.
Background
Elder abuse and neglect is an understudied problem in the United States. Historically viewed as a social rather than a criminal problem, most states did not establish adult protective services units to address elder abuse until the mid-1980s. The extent of elder abuse is unknown, in part because of the lack of definitive and comprehensive research in the area.
Elder abuse is frequently perpetrated by a spouse, relative, or acquaintance, which increases the likelihood that crimes are being underreported. Low household income, unemployment or retirement, poor health, prior traumatic events, and low levels of social support all can indicate a higher likelihood that older people may experience mistreatment.
This problem is compounded by the fact that the medical and criminal justice communities lack comprehensive forensic guidelines for identifying elder abuse and mistreatment. Financial exploitation of older adults has also not been thoroughly studied because of problems with detection, conflicting definitions of the crime, and underreporting.



Resources

SOURCE:     US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
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DISCLAIMER

Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty.

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