Australian Institute of Criminology

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Abuse of older people: crime or family dynamics?

Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 113

Pamela Kinnear and Adam Graycar
ISBN 0 642 24103 1 ISSN 0817-8542
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, May 1999


About 4.6 percent of older people are victims of physical, sexual or financial abuse, perpetrated mostly by family members and those who are in a duty of care relationship with the victim. This paper discusses whether criminal acts such as assault, sexual assault and theft should be redefined as abuse. It examines intervention issues in domestic violence and child abuse and points out that older persons in abusive situations have virtually no choices, because the alternative (moving to an institution) is what they desire least.