Domestic Violence and Elder Abuse Policy



The problem statement for this study is elderly abuse as a social problem considered as a complex phenomenon lacking a single and consistent definition. It falls under the wider domestic abuse and mistreatment definition which encompass “incidents perpetrated by either a family member or a member of the victim’s household… to include physical, psychological, or financial abuse, and neglect,” referring to the elderly as the victim. Elderly, too, may be of contention since acceptable age range or bracket may be different from one institution or state to another. It was observed that resolution of elder abuse require multidisciplinary approach of which administrators form adult protective services and the criminal justice system cooperate to address cases and prevent repetition and escalation of the abusive acts as there are possibilities that unreported and undeterred abusers may turn to more victims.Local law enforcement have jurisdiction to investigate any complaint of elderly abuse and another investigative body is the adult protective services or APS. APS is usually the agency that handles elder mistreatment. McNamee and Murphy cited lack of knowledge about elder abuse with the case of nursing home caretaker Charles Cullen as example. In 2004, Cullen admitted to administering fatal doses of medication to about 40 patients in various institutions over a 16-year period indicating the extent of knowledge on the recognition of abuse, incidences, prevention, and prosecution. The lack of standard for recognition of elder abuse was cited as a major factor in the lagging knowledge about the maltreatment (McNamee and Murphy, 2006). There is a need to rely on forensic markers in order to identify abuse and neglect. However, this was also seen as problematic because caregivers, APS agencies, and physicians lacked training to determine injuries caused by mistreatment and those that came from accident, illness or aging (McNamee and Murphy, 2006). Elderly individuals, too, also experience signs and symptoms that are disease related which may be mistaken for abuse or maltreatment. Thus, caretakers, family members, and health professionals are not alarmed about the real causes even when incidents lead to death (McNamee and Murphy, 2006). Facts and Figures The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting noted that in 2004 that there were 1,551,143 reported incidents of family violence between 1996 and 2001. that 20,955 elderly relatives were victims of simple assault during that period. A study on elderly sexual abuse, Burgess (2006) reported that among the 284 victims under study, the mean age was 78.8 years and that majority or 82.3% were Caucasians. The majority also consisted of 93.2% females with only 6.8%