Elder Abuse Essay

Total Length: 3072 words ( 10 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 11

Page 1 of 10

Victimology and the Problem of Elder Abuse

Part 1

Introduction

Just as criminology is the study of crime and the criminal’s role in crime, victimology is the study of victimization and how victims are impacted by crime and how they in turn also impact crime. There are five typologies of victimization, each one illustrating different ways in which the perpetrator and the victim (if there is one) interact in the crime. For the specific population of elderly people, one problem in victimology is the focus on elder abuse, which is defined as “a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person” (Jackson, 2016, p. 265). According the World Health Organization (2002), elder abuse tends to be manifested in a variety of forms: (a) physical abuse, (b) psychological abuse, (c) sexual abuse, (d) neglect, (e) abandonment, and (f) financial exploitation or theft. The main problem with the subject of elder abuse in the field of victimology is that the research is often too focused on the victim and does not shed enough light on the perpetrator and the various states of awareness that the perpetrator might actually have when committing victim abuse. For that reason, there is a “lack of empirical understanding of elder abuse perpetrators” (Jackson, 2016, p. 266).

Variables that Impact the Issue

The variables that impact this issue are: (a) the needs of the victim, (b) the needs of the perpetrator, (c) the type of abuse, (d) variations in perpetrator culpability, and (e) the rationalization or justification of abuse by both victim and perpetrator.

Statement of Purpose

This study aims to address the lack of empirical understanding regarding the role of the perpetrator in elder abuse. To better understand why victims do not report their abuse and how to help victims of elder abuse, victimology must do more to shed light on the motives, methods, and conscious or unconscious approaches taken to perpetrators (Jackson, 2016). This will in turn allow for a properly effective intervention to be developed that, in some cases where abuse is unintentional or unclearly realized, can help perpetrators be more mindful in their care of the elderly. The specific purpose of this study, therefore, is to identify the variables that are most impactful in elder abuse and determine how to best address these variables so as to help the victims via the use of prevention techniques.

Part 2

Literature Review (Annotated Bibliography)

Aas, G. (2018). The Norwegian police and victims of elder abuse in close and familial

relationships. Journal of elder abuse & neglect, 30(1), 20-41.

This study looks at how criminal justice officers aim to prevent elder abuse when it occurs in familial settings, such as when a child is the perpetrator and the parent the victim. The study reveals that victims in elder abuse are often reluctant to involve police in the issue, so criminal justice agents tend to focus on prevention rather than prosecution. Methods of intervention in promoting prevention of elder abuse are “home visits, motivation, dialogue and interdisciplinary collaboration” (Aas, 2018, p. 20). As Aas points out, one of the main problems with studying elder abuse is that neglect, which is a common form of elder abuse, is not an actively committed crime. Other forms of abuse are rarely studied in victimology, especially as the variable of mental health of the victime can become a factor that raises new ambiguities.

Anand, V., Ashforth, B., Joshi, M. (2005). Business as usual: The acceptance and

perpetuation of corruption in organizations. Academy of Management Executive, 19(4): 9-23.

This study shows how otherwise normal, functioning, law-abiding citizens can commit crimes such as abuse by using rationalization tactics to justify their criminal behaviors. By engaging in rationalization tactics, persons can remove any sense of guilt or regret from their minds and consciences. It is a rationalization of corruption that, in the case of elder abuse, can become a two-way street as the victims may rationalize or justify the behavior of the perpetrator, especially if the perpetrator is a loved-one such as a son or daughter, or if the victim senses that he or she really is a burden and deserves to be neglected.

Baer, R. A. (2003).  Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention: a conceptual and

empirical review. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2): 125-143.

This study focuses on the role that mindfulness can play in helping care givers to be more in the moment, present, and able to provide quality care. It demonstrates that by teaching meditation practices or techniques to care givers, problems or deficiencies in care can be reduced.
Mindfulness training could be used as an appropriate intervention in elder abuse, especially if prosecution of abusers is neither wanted by the victim nor possible by the state. For criminal justice agencies that prefer to focus on prevention, mindfulness training may be one technique that can be implemented to help reduce the risk of elder abuse.

DeLiema, M., Yonashiro-Cho, J., Gassoumis, Z. D., Yon, Y., & Conrad, K. J. (2017).

Using latent class analysis to identify profiles of elder abuse perpetrators. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 73(5), e49-e58.

This study recognizes a need to realize that not all perpetrators of elder abuse are the same—i.e., there is more heterogeneity among perpetrators than there is homogeneity. The purpose of this study was to identify different types of perpetrators in the victimology of elder abuse. The researchers used multinomial logistic regression to identify abuser profiles that matched the type of abuse that the victims experienced. Four profiles were created: caregiver, temperamental, dependent caregiver and dangerous. Perpetrators whose profiles were dangerous typically showed the most aggression, tendency to abuse substances, need for financial support, and a high degree of general irresponsibility. On the other end of the spectrum, caregivers tended to demonstrate emotional and technical support for victims. This study is useful in providing a quantitative analysis of perpetrators in elder abuse to help better understand the victimology of the subject, as Jackson (2016) called for.

Jackson, S. L. (2016). All elder abuse perpetrators are not alike: the heterogeneity of

elder abuse perpetrators and implications for intervention. International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology, 60(3), 265-285.

This study points out that not all victimization experiences can be identified as criminal cases, but that does not mean they should be ignored. Jackson makes the argument that to better understand why victims allow perpetrators of elder abuse to go unreported, the relationships between victim and perpetrator need to be better understood. The study also indicates that by only focusing on the victims of elder abuse, the actual problem will not be solved because perpetrators are often “embedded in the victim’s social network” (p. 278). Thus, the victimology of elder abuse is a complex phenomenon that can only be disentangled by better understanding the perpetrator and the fact that treatment must be focused on both victim and perpetrator. Also, the study shows that culpability varies by degrees among perpetrators and that it is wrong to label all perpetrators of elder abuse as “all bad” as there is not always an intention to harm the victim in every case.

Jackson, S. L., & Hafemeister, T. L. (2014). How case characteristics differ across four

types of elder maltreatment: Implications for tailoring interventions to increase victim safety. Journal of applied gerontology, 33(8), 982-997.

This study focused on forms of elder abuse and the victim’s awareness, unawareness or feeling of a need to protect the perpetrator. The study showed that in most cases of financial exploitation or theft, the victim was typically alone and unaware of the theft. In cases of physical abuse, the victim tended to want to protect the perpetrator from prosecution and thus was reluctant to report the abuse. In cases of neglect, the victim was typically living with the perpetrator but was routinely isolated. In cases of co-occurring forms of abuse such as financial exploitation and physical abuse or neglect, the victim and perpetrator tended to have a co-dependent relationship. This study is useful for explaining the victim’s role in elder abuse and also for shedding some light on the perpetrator’s role as well, as seen through the victim’s eyes as well as through his or her own.

Jackson, S. L., & Hafemeister, T. L. (2015). The impact of relationship dynamics on the

detection and reporting of elder abuse occurring in domestic settings. Journal of elder abuse & neglect, 27(2), 121-145.

In this study, the researchers interviewed Adult Protective Services case workers, clients and third party persons. The study revealed that the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator tended to impact whether the crime of elder abuse went reported or unreported. Two different relationships were identified as meaningful in the study—the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator and the relationship between the victim and the reporter. By….....

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References

Aas, G. (2018). The Norwegian police and victims of elder abuse in close and familial relationships. Journal of elder abuse & neglect, 30(1), 20-41.

Anand, V., Ashforth, B., Joshi, M. (2005). Business as usual: The acceptance and perpetuation of corruption in organizations. Academy of Management Executive, 19(4): 9-23.

Baer, R. A. (2003).  Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention: a conceptual and empirical review. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2): 125-143.

DeLiema, M., Yonashiro-Cho, J., Gassoumis, Z. D., Yon, Y., & Conrad, K. J. (2017). Using latent class analysis to identify profiles of elder abuse perpetrators. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 73(5), e49-e58.

Jackson, S. L. (2016). All elder abuse perpetrators are not alike: the heterogeneity of elder abuse perpetrators and implications for intervention. International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology, 60(3), 265-285.

Jackson, S. L., & Hafemeister, T. L. (2014). How case characteristics differ across four types of elder maltreatment: Implications for tailoring interventions to increase victim safety. Journal of applied gerontology, 33(8), 982-997.

Jackson, S. L., & Hafemeister, T. L. (2015). The impact of relationship dynamics on the detection and reporting of elder abuse occurring in domestic settings. Journal of elder abuse & neglect, 27(2), 121-145.

Lang, T., & Altman, D. (2016). Statistical analyses and methods in the published literature: The SAMPL guidelines. Medical Writing, 25, 31-36.

Pavši? Mrevlje, T., & Nivala, J. (2017). Victimisation of the elderly in the municipalities of Ljubljana and Uppsala. International review of victimology, 23(1), 33-46.

World Health Organization. (2002). World report on violence and health. Retrieved from http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/42495/9241545615_eng.pdf;jsessionid=850EE8DE7BE263F45077CAAF20D50343?sequence=1

Zeller, J., Lamb, K. (2011). Mindfulness meditation to improve care quality of life in long-term care settings. Geriatric Nursing, 32(2): 114-118.
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